Union Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman presents the Union Budget 2022-23 in the Lok Sabha, at Parliament, in New Delhi. (Photo: PTI)
Hyderabad: Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman presented the Union Budget for the financial year of 2022-2023 in the Parliament on Tuesday. The finance minister began the presentation by expressing empathy to those who died due to COVID-19.
"I want to take a moment to express my empathy for those who had to bear adverse health and economic effects of the pandemic," she said while presenting her fourth Budget in the Parliament.
She also announced that the gross GST collections for the month of January 2022 are Rs 1,40,986 crores, highest since the inception of GST.
However, no tax slabs have been announced for salaried class in the Budget.
Here's a look at all the important announcements made by the finance minister:
* GST collection at record Rs 1.40 lakh crore in Jan
GST collections touched a record of Rs 1.40 lakh crore in January on rapid economic recovery, Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman said on Tuesday. In her 2022-23 Budget speech, the minister said there has been a remarkable progress made in the Goods and Services Tax (GST) regime, but still a few challenges remain.
"Gross GST collection in January at record Rs 1,40,986 crores; this has been possible due to rapid economic recovery," she said while presenting the Budget in the Lok Sabha.
January is the seventh straight month when the GST collection has crossed the Rs 1 lakh crore mark. The second highest monthly GST collection was in April 2021 at Rs 1,39,708 crore while in December it was more than Rs 1.29 lakh crore.
* India's economic growth estimated to be at 9.2%
Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman on Tuesday said that overall sharp rebound and recovery of the economy is reflective of India's strong resilience. "Overall sharp rebound and recovery of the economy are reflective of India's strong resilience," Sitharaman said while addressing the Parliament.
She said that India's economic growth in the current year is estimated to be 9.2 per cent, the highest among all large economies. "During Amrit Kaal, our government aims to achieve the vision for India@100 set out by the Prime Minister in his Independence Day Address," she added.
Sitharaman also said virtuous cycle of investment is expected to revive on account of capex (capital expenditure) and crowd in private investment. "Government focus since 2014 is on poor and marginalised. The government strives to provide necessary ecosystem to middle class," she added.
* Taxpayers can now file returns within 2 years
Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman said the government will provide a one-time window to correct omissions in income tax returns (ITRs) filed. She said that the updated returns will have to be filed within two years.
The minister also said that the government proposes to reduce Minimum Alternative Tax (MAT) to 15 per cent for co-operative societies, at par with corporates.
Further, she informed that the fiscal deficit in 2021-22 will be 6.9 per cent of GDP and 6.4 per cent in 2022-23.
Total expenditure in FY'23 is estimated at Rs 39.45 lakh crore; while total resources mobilisation would be Rs 22.84 lakh crore other than borrowings, Sitharaman said. "The government vows a stable and predictable tax regime," she said.
* Govt introduces Digital Rupee using blockchain technology
Digital Rupee is proposed to be introduced by RBI using blockchain technology starting from 2022-23, Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman said. In her Union Budget 2022-23 speech, she also said Rs 1 lakh crore financial assistance to states will be provided in 2022-23 to catalyse investments.
The finance minister further said that in 2022-23, states will be allowed fiscal deficit of up to 4 pc of GSDP.
* E-passports to be issued
Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman on Tuesday announced the issuance of E-passports, which will be rolled out in 2022-23, to enhance convenience for citizens.
* No change in personal income tax rates in Budget
Belying expectations, Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman did not tinker with the personal income tax rates in the Budget for 2022-23. The minister also did not raise standard deduction, which was widely anticipated in view of elevated inflation levels and impact of the pandemic on the middle class.
The standard deduction currently stands at Rs 50,000. There was no change income tax slabs in the personal income tax category in the Budget unveiled on Tuesday.
The corporate tax rate too was kept at the same level. However, concessional rate of 15 per cent has been extended by one year for newly incorporated manufacturing units.
* 400 new Vande Bharat trains to be introduced
Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman on Tuesday proposed to introduce 400 new Vande Bharat trains and said contracts for multi-modal parks at four locations will be awarded next fiscal.
She also added that a rationalised scheme to increase domestic oilseed production will be brought in to cut down imports.
"One product one railway station will be popularised, 400 new Vande Bharat trains to be introduced," Sitharaman said, adding that 100 PM Gati Shakti terminals would be set up in the next three years.
* Railways to develop new products for small farmers, MSMEs
Railways will develop new products for small farmers and MSMEs, Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman said. She also noted that efforts of central and state governments are leading to jobs and entrepreneurial opportunities.
* National Highways to be expanded by 25,000 km
Sitharamanannounced that the national highways will be expanded by 25,000 km during 2022-23 and the ropeway development plan will be taken up in the public-private partnership (PPP) mode. She also said multimodal logistic parks will also be set up in 2022-23.
* National Tele Mental Health program launched
Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman announced the launch of National Tele Mental Health program for better access to quality mental health counseling and care services in the Budget.
"The pandemic has accentuated mental health problems in people of all ages. To better the access to quality mental health counselling and care services, a National Tele Mental Health program will be launched," she said.
"This will include a network of 23 tele mental health centres of excellence with Nimhans being the nodal centre and IIIT Bangalore providing technical support," she added.
*Four priorities of the govt - PM Gati Shakti one among them
Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman, while presenting the Budget, announced the four priorities of the govt in the upcoming year - PM Gati Shakti, inclusive development, productivity enhancement and investment, sunrise opportunities, energy transition and climate action & financing of investments.
* Procurement of wheat, paddy
Nirmala Sitharaman said the government will pay Rs 2.37 lakh crore towards procurement of wheat and paddy under MSP operations. The fiscal 2022-23 has been announced as International Year of Millets, the finance minister said while presenting the Union Budget for 2022-23.
"Procurement of wheat in Rabi season 2021-22 and the estimated procurement of paddy in Kharif season 2021-22 will give cover 1208 lakh metric tonnes of wheat & paddy from 163 lakh farmers& Rs 2.37 lakh crores will be the direct payment of MSP value to their accounts," she added.
Sitharaman also added that the government will promote chemical-free natural farming across the country with a focus on farmers' land in 5 km wide corridors along the river Ganga, in the first stage.
"MSMEs such as Udyam,e-shram, NCS & Aseem portals will be interlinked,their scope will be widened... They will now perform as portals with live organic databases providing G-C, B-C & B-B services such as credit facilitation,enhancing entrepreneurial opportunities," she added.
* Govt to promote Kisan Drones
The Centre will promote Kisan Drones and public-private partnerships for the delivery of digital and high-tech services to farmers across the country during the financial year 2022-23, Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman announced.
Sitharaman said the inclusive development is one of the four priorities of the government moving forward. As part of the inclusive development, the government will promote the use of 'Kisan Drones' for crop assessment, digitisation of land records and spraying of insecticides.
The government will also facilitate a fund with blended capital raised under the co-investment model through Nabard to finance agri start-ups and rural enterprises, she said. "This is to finance start-ups for agriculture and rural enterprise relevant for farm produce value chain," the FM said.
Sitharaman also added that the government will provide financial support to farmers to take up agro-forestry.
* 'One class, one TV channel' in times of Covid
Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman announced the government's new program, 'One class, one TV channel', for children to provide supplementary education to make up for the loss of formal education due to the coronavirus pandemic in the country.
* Spectrum auctions to facilitate roll-out of 5G services
The government will conduct a spectrum auction this year, which will facilitate the roll-out of 5G services by private telecom operators during the financial year 2022-23, Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman said. "Spectrum auctions will be conducted in 2022 to facilitate the roll-out of 5G mobile services within 2022-23 by private telecom providers," Sitharaman said.
She said the telecommunications sector in general and 5G, in particular, can enable growth and offer job opportunities. "A scheme for design-led manufacturing will be launched to build a strong ecosystem for 5G as part of the production-linked incentive scheme," the FM said.
She said that to enable affordable broadband and mobile service proliferation in rural and remote areas, 5 per cent of annual collections under the universal service obligation fund will be allocated.
"This will promote R&D and commercialisation of technologies and solutions. Our mission is that all villages and their residents should have the same access to e-services, communication facilities and digital resources as urban areas and their residents," FM said.
* Sovereign green bonds to mobilise resources
Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman on Tuesday proposed to issue sovereign green bonds to mobilise resources as part of the government's borrowing programme.
She said that outlay for capital expenditure has been stepped up by 35.4 per cent to Rs 7.5 lakh crore in FY'23.
Effective capital expenditure will be Rs 10.68 lakh crore, or 4.1 per cent of GDP, in 2022-23, the finance minister said, adding public investment must take the lead to pump prime private investment and support demand.
* Govt to bring battery swapping policy to promote electric vehicles
Nirmala Sitharaman on on Tuesday announced that the government will bring a battery swapping policy to boost use of electric vehicles in the country in view of space constraints for setting up charging stations. "Considering the constraint space in urban areas for setting up (electric vehicles) charging stations, a battery swapping policy will be brought out and interoperability standards will be formulated," Sitharaman said in her Budget speech in the Lok Sabha.
She stated that the private sector will be encouraged to set up sustainable business models for battery or energy service and this will improve efficiency in EV (electric vehicle) ecosystem. "We will promote a shift to use public transport in urban areas. This will be complemented by clean tech and governance solutions, special mobility zones with zero fossil fuel policy and EV vehicles," she stated.
* 30% tax on income from cryptocurrency, virtual assets; 1% TDS on buy/sale
Giving clarity on taxation of cryptocurrencies and other virtual assets, Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman proposed a 30 per cent tax on income from transactions in such assets.
Also, to bring such assets under the tax net, she proposed a 1 per cent TDS (tax deducted at source) on transactions in such asset classes above a certain threshold. Gifts in crypto and digital assets will also be taxed, she said.
The tax proposals will come into effect from April 1 after the passage of the Union Budget in Parliament.
* Govt enhances PLI for domestic solar cells, modules manufacturing to Rs 24,000 crore
Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman proposed enhancing the funding under the PLI scheme for domestic solar cells and module manufacturing to Rs 24,000 crore from the existing Rs 4,500 crore to make India an exporting nation.
"For facilitating domestic manufacturing for the ambitious goal of 280GW of installed solar capacity by 2030, an additional allocation of Rs 19,500 crore for PLI scheme for manufacturing of high efficiency (solar) modules with priority of fully integrate manufacturing units for polysilicon to solar PV modules will be made," Sitharaman said.
In April 2021, the Union Cabinet approved a Rs 4,500 crore production linked incentive (PLI) scheme to boost domestic manufacturing capacity of solar PV modules.
The scheme was aimed at adding 10,000 MW manufacturing capacity of integrated solar PV modules entailing direct investment of Rs 17,200 crore at present (existing).
With the increase in allocation to Rs 24,000 crore, the quantum of investments and domestic manufacturing capacity envisaged under the PLI scheme would further increase.
The PLI scheme -- National Programme on High Efficiency Solar PV Modules -- approved by the Union Cabinet, was aimed at reducing import dependence in a strategic sector like electricity. Under the scheme, solar PV manufacturers will be selected through a transparent competitive bidding process. The PLI will be disbursed for five years post commissioning of solar PV manufacturing plants, on sales of high efficiency solar PV modules.