Presenting the first Union Budget of the third decade of the 21stcentury, Finance Minister -Smt. Nirmala Sitharaman, unveiled a series of far-reaching reforms, aimed at energizing the Indian economy through a combination of short-term, medium-term, and long term measures.
The Union Budget was structured on the overall theme of “ Ease of Living”. Further, three prominent themes of the budget are:-
- Aspirational India – better standards of living with access to health, education and better jobs for all sections of the society.
- Economic Development for all – “Sabka Saath,Sabka Vikas , Sabka Vishwas”.
- Caring Society – Both humane and compassionate.
Sixteen Action Points for Agriculture, Irrigation and Rural Development
- Agriculture credit:
- Rs. 15 lakh crore target set for the year 2020-21.
- PM-KISAN beneficiaries to be covered under the KCC scheme.
- NABARD Re-finance Scheme to be further expanded.
- Comprehensive measures for 100 water-stressed districts proposed.
- Blue Economy:
- Rs. 1 lakh crore fisheries’ exports to be achieved by 2024-25.
- 200 lakh tonnes fish production targeted by 2022-23.
- 3477 Sagar Mitras and 500 Fish Farmer Producer Organisations to involve youth in fisheries extension.
- Kisan Rail to be setup by Indian Railways through PPP to build a seamless national cold supply chain for perishables.
- Krishi Udaan to be launched by the Ministry of Civil Aviation.
- One-Product One-District for better marketing and export in the Horticulture sector.
- Balanced use of all kinds of fertilizers -traditional organic and innovative fertilizers.
- Measures for organic, natural, and integrated farming:
- Jaivik Kheti Portal –online national organic products market to be strengthened.
- Integrated Farming Systems in rain-fed areas to be expanded.
- PM – KUSUM to be expanded.
- Village storage scheme to provide farmers with holding capacity. To be run by SHGs.
- NABARD to map and geo-tag agri-warehouses, cold storages, reefer van facilities,etc
- Warehousing in line with Warehouse Development and Regulatory Authority (WDRA) norms
- Financing on Negotiable Warehousing Receipts (e-NWR) to be integrated with e-NAM.
- State governments who undertake implementation of model laws (issued by the Central government) to be encouraged.
- Deen Dayal Antyodaya Yojana – 0.5crore households mobilized with 58 lakh SHGs for poverty alleviation.
- In Livestock, doubling of milk production capacity, and increase in artificial insemination sought.
Wellness, Water and Sanitation
- Jan Aushadhi Kendra Scheme to offer2000 medicines and 300 surgicals in all districts by 2024.
- TB Harega Desh Jeetega campaign launched – commitment to end Tuberculosis by 2025.
- Commitment to ODF-Plus in order to sustain ODF behaviour.
- Rs. 69,000crore allocated for overall Healthcare sector.
Education and Skills
- New Education Policy to be announced soon.
- National Police University and National Forensic Science University proposed for policing science, forensic science, and cyber-forensics.
- Up to 1-year internship to fresh engineers to be provided by Urban Local Bodies.
- Ind-SAT proposed for Asian and African countries as a part of Study in India program.
- Rs. 99,300 crore for education sector and Rs. 3000 crore for skill development in 2020-21 is allotted.
Economic Development for All
Industry, Commerce and Investment
- Investment Clearance Cell proposed to be setup.
- National Technical Textiles Mission to be setup to position India as a global leader in technical textile.
- New scheme NIRVIK to be launched to achieve higher export credit disbursement.
- All Ministries to issue quality standard orders as per PM’s vision of “Zero Defect-Zero Effect” manufacturing.
- Rs.27,300 crore allocated for 2020-21 for development and promotion of Industry and Commerce.
- National Infrastructure Pipeline- More than 6500 projects across sectors, to be classified as per their size and stage of development.
- A National Logistics Policy to be released soon.
- National Skill Development Agency to give special thrust to infrastructure-focused skill development opportunities.
- Rs.100 lakh crore to be invested on infrastructure over the next 5 years.
- Accelerated development of highways to be undertaken.
- Proposed to monetise at least 12 lots of highway bundles of over 6000 Km before 2024.
- Large solar power capacity to be set up alongside rail tracks, on land owned by railways.
- Four station re-development projects and operation of 150 passenger trains through PPP.
Ports & Waterways
- Economic activity along river banks to be energised as per Prime Minister’s
Arth Ganga concept.
- Corporatizing at least one major port and its listing on stock exchanges to be considered.
- 100 more airports to be developed by 2024 to support Udaan scheme.
- “Smart” metering to be promoted and measures to reform DISCOMs to be taken.
- Expansion of national gas grid from the present 16200 km to 27000 km proposed.
- Rs.22, 000 crore proposed for power and renewable energy sector in 2020-21.
- Policy to enable private sector to build Data Centre parks throughout the country.
- Rs.6000 crore proposed for Bharat net programme in 2020-21.
- Mapping of India’s genetic landscape-Two new national level Science Schemes to be initiated to create a comprehensive database.
- Knowledge Translation Clusters to be set up across different technology sectors including new and emerging areas.
- Rs.8000 crore proposed over five years for National Mission on Quantum Technologies and Applications.
Women & Child, Social Welfare
- Proposed to appoint a task force to present its recommendations in six months on issue of age of girl entering motherhood.
- Financial support for wider acceptance of technologies, identified by Ministry of Housing and Urban Affairs to ensure no manual cleaning of sewer systems or septic tanks, to be provided.
- Enhanced allocation of Rs. 9,500 crore provided for 2020-21 for senior citizens and Divyang.
Culture & Tourism
- Indian Institute of Heritage and Conservation under Ministry of Culture proposed; with the status of a deemed University.
- 5 archaeological sites to be developed as iconic sites with on-site Museums:
- Rakhigarhi (Haryana)
- Hastinapur (Uttar Pradesh)
- Shivsagar (Assam)
- Dholavira (Gujarat)
- Adichanallur (Tamil Nadu)
- Museum on Numismatics and Trade to be located in the historic Old Mint building in Kolkata.
- Support for setting up of a Tribal Museum in Ranchi (Jharkhand).
- Maritime museum to be set up at Lothal- the Harrapan age maritime site near Ahmedabad.
Environment & Climate Change
- Proposed to advise the utilities to close the running old thermal power plants with carbon emission above the pre-set norms.
- States that are formulating and implementing plans for ensuring cleaner air in cities with population above one million to be encouraged.
- Companies Act to be amended to remove criminal liability for certain acts that are civil in nature.
- National Recruitment Agency (NRA) to be set up for conduct of a computer-based online Common Eligibility Test for recruitment to Non-Gazetted posts in governments and public sector banks. A test-centre in every district, particularly in the Aspirational Districts would be set up.
- Robust mechanism to be evolved for appointment including direct recruitment to various Tribunals and specialised bodies to attract best talents and professional experts.
- New National Policy on Official Statistics to:
- Promote use of latest technologies including AI.
- Lay down a road-map towards modernised data collection, integrated information portal and timely dissemination of information.
- Development of Union Territories of J&K and Ladakh:
- An amount of Rs. 30,757 crore provided for the financial year 2020-21.
- The Union Territory of Ladakh has been provided with Rs. 5,958.
- Governance reforms to be carried out to bring in transparency and greater professionalism in PSBs.
- Few PSBs to be encouraged to approach the capital market to raise additional capital
- Deposit Insurance and Credit Guarantee Corporation (DICGC) permitted to increase Deposit Insurance Coverage to Rs. 5 lakh from Rs.1 lakh per depositor.
- Cooperative Banks to be strengthen by amending Banking Regulation Act.
- NBFCs eligibility limit for debt recovery reduced from:
- Rs. 500 crore to Rs 100 crore asset size.
- Rs 1 crore to Rs 50 lakh loan size.
- Government to sell its balance holding in IDBI Bank to private, retail and institutional investors through the stock exchange.
- FPI limit in corporate bonds increased to 15% from 9% of its outstanding stock.
- Debt Based Exchange Traded Fund expanded by a new Debt-ETF consisting primarily of Government Securities.
- An International Bullion exchange(s) to be set up as an additional option for trade by global market participants with the approval of regulator.
- Government to sell a part of its holding in LIC by way of Initial Public Offer (IPO).
- Overhaul of Centrally Sponsored Schemes and Central Sector Schemes necessary to ensure that scarce public resources are spent optimally.
- For year 2020-21:Nominal growth of GDP estimated at 10%.
- Fiscal deficit of 3.8% estimated in RE 2019-20 and 3.5% for BE 2020-21.
- A good part of the borrowings for the financial year 2020-21 to go towards Capital expenditure that has been scaled up by more than 21%.
- Recommendations of XV Finance Commission (FC) accepted in substantial measure.
- Proposals – To stimulate growth, simplify tax structure, bring ease of compliance, and reduce litigations.
Personal Income Tax– Significant relief to middle class taxpayers.
- Around 70 of the existing exemptions and deductions (more than 100) to be removed in the new simplified regime.
- Corporate Tax– Tax rate of 15% extended to new electricity generation companies.
- Dividend Distribution Tax – DDT removed making India a more attractive investment destination.
- Start–ups – Start-ups with turnover upto Rs. 100 crore to enjoy100% deduction for 3 consecutive assessment years out of 10 years.
- MSMEs – Turnover threshold for audit increased to Rs. 5 crore from Rs. 1 crore for businesses carrying out less than 5% business transactions in cash inorder to boost less cash economy.
- Cooperative societies exempted from Alternate Minimum Tax (AMT) just like Companies are exempted from the Minimum Alternate Tax (MAT).
- Affordable Housing – Additional deduction up to Rs. 1.5 lakhs for interest paid on loans taken for an affordable house extended till 31st March, 2021.
Tax facilitation measures –
- ‘Vivad Se Vishwas’ scheme,with a deadline of30th June, 2020, to reduce litigations in direct taxes.
- Instant PAN to be allotted online through Aadhaar.
- Faceless appeals to be enabled by amending the Income Tax Act.
- Unique registration number (URN) to be issued to all new and existing charity institutions.
- CBDT to adopt a Taxpayers’ Charter.
Indirect Tax :
- GST rate structure being deliberated to address inverted duty structure.
- Dynamic QR-code capturing GST parameters proposed for consumer invoices.
- Simplified return with features like SMS based filing for nil return and improved input tax credit flow to be implemented from 1st April, 2020 as a pilot run.
Custom duties :
- Higher customs duty on certain goods like auto-parts, chemicals, etc. which arealso being made domestically.
- Lower customs duty on certain inputs and raw materials like fuse, chemicals, and plastics.
Trade policy measure:
- Customs Act being amended to enable proper checks of imports under FTAs.
- Excise duty proposed to be raised on Cigarettes and other tobacco products, no change made in the duty rates of bidis.
- Anti-dumping duty on PTA abolished to benefit the textile sector.
Future Aim for sustaining India’s unique global leadership, driven by Digital Revolution
- Seamless delivery of services through Digital Governance.
- Improvement in physical quality of life through National Infrastructure Pipeline.
- Risk mitigation through Disaster Resilience.
- Social security through Pension and Insurance penetration.
Source: News On Air