Union Budget 2021 Key Highlights: Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman has presented the Union Budget 2021-22 in Parliament. In significant changes to the taxation process, Sitharaman announced the scrapping of income tax for senior citizens under certain conditions, new rules for removal of double taxation for NRIs, and a reduction in the time period of tax assessments among other measures. Startups will get an extension in their tax holiday for an additional year.
Sitharaman also announced that the advance tax liability on dividend income shall arise after declaration of payment of dividend. At the conclusion of her speech, Sensex was at 47451.62, up 1165.85 points. In her speech, Sitharaman announced that India’s fiscal deficit is set to jump to 9.5 per cent of Gross Domestic Product in 2020-21 as per Revised Estimates. This is sharply higher than 3.5 per cent of GDP that was projected in the Budget Estimates. A slump in government revenues amid the Covid-19 pandemic has led to a sharp rise in deficit and market borrowing. In health care spending, Sitharaman announced a total spend of around Rs 2 lakh crore on healthcare with Rs 35,000 crore on Covid-19 vaccine development and innoculation.
Sitharaman, in her speech, announced a push to the textile industry, a hike in custom duty on cotton and raw silk, a new cess on agriculture development – Rs 2.5 per litre on petrol and Rs 4 per litre on diesel – a central university in Leh, a focus on sea-weed farming with a new facility in Tamil Nadu and a new vehicle scrapping policy that aims to provide the auto sector a boost among other announcements. Sitharaman also announced that an additional 1 crore families will now benefit under the Centre’s Ujjwala scheme. Four poll-bound states – Kerala, Tamil Nadu, Assam and West Bengal – will see significant spending on highway road expansion.
Addressing the nation after the Budget, Modi said it speaks of “all-round development.” “From Covid-related reforms to Atmanirbhar resolve, we moved ahead with this mantra in Budget 2021. It’s an active and not a reactive budget,” he added, congratulated the Finance Ministry team. This was Sitharaman’s third budget under the National Democratic Alliance (NDA) government led by Prime Minister Narendra Modi. In a significant departure from the tradition, this year’s Budget was not printed and was only made available in a digital format.