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Union Budget 2021 Reaction Live Updates| Budget ‘let down like never before’, will unravel soon, says Congress

Union Budget 2021 Reactions Live: Gandhi also urged on the need to generate employment for the farmers and workers in the country and increase expenditure in the healthcare and defence sectors. 

By: Express Web Desk | New Delhi |
Updated: February 2, 2021 5:06:43 am
Budget 2021 was presented in the Parliament on Monday. (Express Photo by Partha Paul)

Union Budget 2021 Reactions Live: Union Budget 2021 invoked a strong reaction from members of the Congress party who slammed Sitharaman’s budgetary address to be oblivious of economic decline in the country. Asserting that the Union Budget was a “let down like never before”, the Congress on Monday claimed that it will unravel soon, and described the imposition of cess on petrol and diesel in the budget as a “vengeful act” against the thousands of farmers who took out the tractor rally. The opposition party said it was a case of “wrong diagnosis and prescription”, and that Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman could have been “brave” by extending help to the poor, but chose to be “timid”.

Congress leader Rahul Gandhi highlighted sectors that the government “must” focus on in their Budget, including the MSME sector. Gandhi also urged on the need to generate employment for the farmers and workers in the country and increase expenditure in the healthcare and defence sectors. 

Shortly after it was presented in the parliament, Union Defence Minister Rajnath Singh hailed Budget 2021 as the budget for an AtmaNirbhar Bharat that will strengthen the economy.

Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman introduced tax reforms including scrapping income tax for senior citizens under in the Union Budget 2021. Sitharaman also extended social security benefits to platform and gig workers. As part of a newly launched Aaatmanirbhar Swasth Bharat Yojana, Sitharaman allotted Rs 35,000 crore for coronavirus vaccines in the country. A budget of 2 lakh crore was allocated for the healthcare sector.

As it happens, we will bring to you the reactions and responses surrounding this year’s budget. After an estimated 7.7 per cent contraction in 2020-21, the Finance Ministry’s Economic Survey projects that India’s real GDP would record a growth of 11 per cent in 2021-22.

Live Blog

Follow this space for the latest reactions and discussions surrounding the Union Budget 2021. 

05:06 (IST)02 Feb 2021
Anti-people Budget, its main theme ‘sell India’: Trinamool

Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee on Monday led the Trinamool Congress’ (TMC) criticism of the Union Budget presented by Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman, calling it “anti-farmer, anti-people and anti-country”.

Addressing the inaugural ceremony of the Uttar Banga Utsav in Siliguri, Banerjee said, “What kind of budget is this?… Fake budget. Anti-farmer, anti-people and anti-country budget. They have increased the price of petrol and diesel. Cess is taken away by the Central government, the state government gets nothing. Farmers will be affected by this petrol and diesel price hike. They are hiking fuel prices continuously. They promised to give you Rs 15 lakh, they gave nothing.” Read More

04:30 (IST)02 Feb 2021
Directionless, serves interests of industrialists: Gehlot slams Budget 2021

The Rajasthan Congress on Monday termed the Union Budget ‘disappointing’, saying that it lacked vision to revive the country’s economy while the BJP said the budget presented by Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman addresses all sections of society.

Reacting to the Union Budget, Rajasthan Chief Minister Ashok Gehlot on Monday termed it as ‘anti-poor, anti-farmer, directionless and disappointing.’ Read More

03:39 (IST)02 Feb 2021
Directionless, serves interests of industrialists: Ashok Gehlot slams Budget

The Rajasthan Congress on Monday termed the Union Budget ‘disappointing’, saying that it lacked vision to revive the country’s economy while the BJP said the budget presented by Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman addresses all sections of society. Read More

03:37 (IST)02 Feb 2021
No growth in healthcare spending visible for forthcoming fiscal year: activists

Some health activists on Monday said they had some expectations from the Union Budget but were disappointed as no growth in healthcare spending was visible for the forthcoming fiscal year. Despite the much touted emphasis on health, the Union Budget has increased only by Rs 7000 crore from Budget Estimates of 2020-21 and declined by 9.8 per cent from Revised Estimates of 2020-21, health activists have said. Read More

02:40 (IST)02 Feb 2021
‘Why have mobile phones, a basic necessity, been made more expensive?’: Chandigarh residents on Union Budget

THE UNION government has, for the eighth consecutive year, inflicted a body blow to UT Chandigarh in allocation of resources. In the interim budget for the year 2014-15, the UPA government had allocated Rs 813 crore for Chandigarh. However, that was drastically slashed by the NDA government to Rs 570 crore and ever since then, Chandigarh has been denied its due by the Centre. The result is there for everyone to see with an all-round deterioration in the upkeep of the UT. Read More

22:24 (IST)01 Feb 2021
Experts 'disappointed' over reduction in allocation to environment ministry

The Rs 230-crore reduction in the budgetary allocation to the environment ministry has drawn flak from environmentalists who say it may slow down or completely halt green initiatives. Besides the shrunk budget, they also feel that the Centre has not clarified how a separate amount of Rs 2,217 crore, set aside for tackling air pollution in 42 cities with minimum population of one million, will be utilised.

"The total budget allocated for the ministry this year is Rs 2,869.93 crore while last year it was Rs 3,100 crore. This implies that a number of environmental measures could be slowed down or halted," said Avinash Chanchal, a Climate Campaigner for the Greenpeace India.

"The government has allocated Rs 2,217 crore to tackle air pollution in 42 urban cities and introduced a voluntary vehicle scrapping policy. But it isn't clear how these funds would be utilized to resolve the pollution crisis," he said.

In the previous budget, he said, the government had announced Rs 4,400 crore for clean air, but there is no information on public platform on how this fund was utilized. Vikrant Tongad, an environmentalist and the founder of NGO SAFE (Social Action for Forest and Environment), said this reductions may have an adverse impact on environment-friendly initiatives. (PTI)

22:07 (IST)01 Feb 2021
Budget development-oriented, will upgrade India's economy: Yogi Adityanath

Uttar Pradesh Chief Minister Yogi Adityanath on Monday said the Union Budget will prove to be a milestone in upgrading India's economy and will ensure development of all sections of society. "The General Budget is in accordance with the expectation of public welfare and Aatma Nirbhar Bharat (self-reliant India).The Budget has taken care of every class including farmers, middle class, poor, women," he said in a series of tweets in Hindi.

It will speed up the economy and financially empower every citizen of the country, he said. "This will prove to be a milestone in upgrading the Indian economy. Through this, all-round development of all sections of society will be ensured," Adityanath said.

"Hearty greetings to Finance Minister Nirmala Sitaramanji for the historical, practical and development-oriented Budget when the global economy is facing a crisis due to the coronavirus pandemic. Undoubtedly, this Budget will meet the financial expectations of all Indians," he said in another tweet.

21:35 (IST)01 Feb 2021
Ruling LDF, opposition parties slam union budget

Kerala Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan on Monday said the "pro corporate" union budget had "disappointed" people of the country and it only reiterated the Centre's stand to open the agricultural sector to them,while opposition parties said it has cheated citizens. The budget showed that all the mediation talks with the farmers were just an "eyewash" and the Centre did not intend to withdraw the three contentious laws against which farmers are on an agitation for over two months in Delhi borders, he said in a statement.

"This amounts to challenging the people of the country. The budget reiterates the stand of the central government, opening the agricultural sector to the corporates". The CM said that the union government, through this budget, had decided to divest more Public Sector Undertakings in the country and invite Foreign Direct Investment (FDI). (PTI)

21:06 (IST)01 Feb 2021
Union Budget: Edible oil industry welcomes agri development cess

The edible oil industry on Monday welcomed the announcement of agricultural development cess and the increase in import duty of crude palm oil in the Union Budget 2021-22, saying that the measures are expected to protect the interests of mustard farmers. The announcement of agricultural development cess is a welcome move and hopefully the revenue from cess on edible oils would be utilised for augmenting domestic production of oilseeds, Solvent Extractor's Association of India (SEA) President Atul Chaturvedi said in a statement.

"As per our understanding the effective import duty on CPO (crude palm oil) has gone up to 35.75 per cent, while at the same time import duty on soya and sunflower oil has remained unchanged at 38.5 per cent.  (PTI)

20:26 (IST)01 Feb 2021
Union Budget: TN CM welcomes many initiatives, Stalin dubs it 'illusionary lollipop'

Tamil Nadu Chief Minister K Palaniswami on Monday welcomed several announcements made in the union budget by Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman but sought a review of the cess regime in the interest of states. DMK president M K Stalin lashed out at the Centre, saying it has offered an "illusionary lollipop" to the people of poll-bound Tamil Nadu.

Palaniswami said the budget has many welcome provisions, especially beneficial to the state. In a statement, he appreciated announcements like the allocation of Rs 35,000 crore for COVID-19 vaccination drive. The implementation of 3,500 km of national highway work in Tamil Nadu will boost the state's economy. (PTI)

20:01 (IST)01 Feb 2021
Union Budget 2021: Reaction from Shardul Amarchand Mangaldas & Co

Gouri Puri, Partner: “Rationalization of TDS rates for FPIs  is a key change to neutralize the impact of Supreme Court’s decision in PILCOM. FPIs are governed by a standalone TDS provision that set a flat TDS rate of 20% on all income earned by an FPI other than capital gains. This meant that even if an FPI was entitled to a lower withholding tax rate under tax treaties, TDS would be deducted at 20%; the FPI would then need to claim a tax refund. This issue became glaring when India shifted from the DDT to classical dividend tax system. Finance Bill has now aligned the TDS rate with tax treaty rates. Liberalization of the conditions that were attached to sovereign wealth fund’s tax exemption on income from specified investments will go a long way in mobilizing foreign government funds into India”

19:31 (IST)01 Feb 2021
Union Budget reflects Centre's efforts to sideline non-BJP ruled states: Punjab CM

Punjab Chief Minister Amarinder Singh on Monday flayed the Union Budget, saying it reflects the Centre's persistent efforts to sideline non-BJP ruled states. His reaction came hours after Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman presented the Union Budget for 2021-22. The Punjab CM claimed that the Budget was reflective of the BJP-led central government's total apathy towards the common man, the middle class and farmers.

Amarinder criticised the Centre for the "stepmotherly" treatment meted out to Punjab and other northern states, claiming that it was "designed" to cater to the poll-bound states of West Bengal nad south India with a massive infrastructure development allocation for these regions. "The Budget also manifests the central government's persistent efforts to sideline non-BJP states like ours, as well as its anti-federal mindset," said the CM, pointing to the gap between the fiscal deficit targets fixed for the Union government and states.

19:17 (IST)01 Feb 2021
Union Budget 2021: Reactions from Industry leaders

Rajesh Uttamchandani, Director, Syska Group: "Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman stated that for a 5-trillion-dollar economy, our manufacturing sector has to grow in double digits on a sustained basis. We welcome the measures exercised by the honorable Prime Minister Shri Modi Ji and his government in the Union Budget towards boosting electronic manufacturing in the country. The government led by Modi Ji has pledged an infusion of Rs 1.97 lakh crore on various PLI schemes over the next 5 years, starting this fiscal. This is in addition to the Rs 40,951 crore towards the PLI scheme to help expand and boost exports. Today, India’s manufacturing industry has tremendous potential to place the country on the global manufacturing map, simultaneously boosting several employment opportunities to India’s youth. Our manufacturing companies need to become an integral part of global supply chains. With a budget of Rs 15,700 crore, which is more than two times that of the previous year, this will help strengthen the MSME sector in terms of productivity development, technology adoption, strengthening of infrastructure and more. As a company, Syska has always been aligned with the vision of Atmanirbhar Bharat promoting sustainability through our products and creating new job opportunities. The budget has a positive, expansionary approach towards the manufacturing sector, which is reflected through the incentives and strengthening of the PLI schemes provided by the government."

Kishan Jain, Director at Goldmedal Electricals: “The Union Budget 2021 has provided massive opportunities for companies looking to set up manufacturing facilities in the country. Given our current economic situation across the globe caused by the pandemic, the Finance Minister’s decision to infuse INR 1.97 lakh crore towards various PLI scheme is laudable in addition to the Rs 40,951 crore towards the PLI scheme to help expand and boost exports. As correctly stated by FM Nirmala Sitharaman, our manufacturing companies need to become an integral part of global supply chain. Further, the provision of INR15,700 cr towards the MSME sector, will provide a further fillip to the Government’s flagship Make in India initiative. As a company, Goldmedal Electricals has always been at the forefront of introducing innovative and sustainable solutions that make our planet not only smarter but also sustainable for generations to come and support government’s vision of Atmanirbhar Bharat.”

18:52 (IST)01 Feb 2021
Post Budget 2021 reaction by Tata Technologies

Warren Harris, CEO & MD: “With a significant outlay on Infrastructure spend and the much-needed Vehicle Scrappage policy, the government of India has finally set the tone for recovery of Auto Sector which has been significantly impacted by the pandemic. This will not only help boost the demand for production of Commercial vehicles but also support the entire transportation ecosystem. Also, while it would have been good to see some more initiatives to promote Electric Vehicles in this budget, we are glad that the government has noted India’s critical role in the global automotive supply chain post COVID 19.  Specific initiatives through Production linked schemes, creation of infrastructure for R&D and enabling skill development in new-gen technologies such as artificial intelligence (AI) and Machine Learning (ML) will help drive investment in Engineering and Research”.

18:31 (IST)01 Feb 2021
Union Budget 2021: Reaction by Subhrakant Panda, Vice President, FICCI & Managing Director, IMFA

Subhrakant Panda: "The budget is very comprehensive and proposals are well thought through which will provides fiscal support for investment & consumption while also providing a 5 year roadmap to come back to prudent norms. Higher outlays for various sectors augurs well, as does the fact that the quality of expenditure is improving with more thrust on capital expenditure. Setting up of a DFI to fund long gestation projects, and an asset reconstruction cum asset management company to deal with stressed assets are welcome steps. Limiting reopening of assessments and providing for a faceless ITAT will encourage the honest taxpayer. Similarly, several regulations and laws subsiding into a single securities code is a very positive step. Finally, no major changes in the tax structure is a major commitment to provide stability."

18:29 (IST)01 Feb 2021
Union Budget 2021: Reaction on affordable housing

Rajan Samuel, Managing Director, Habitat for Humanity India: "It is anticipated that affordable housing will play a key role in boosting the growth of the Indian real estate segment and lay the roadmap for a socially sustainable and vibrant housing ecosystem in India. An important highlight in the budget is the tax exemption on rental housing for migrant workers. The proposal to extend the INR 1.5 lakh benefit on interest paid towards affordable housing loans and extension of tax benefits for affordable housing projects for migrant workers till March 31st, 2022 will help in bringing vulnerable sections of the community within the ambit of formal housing. For low-income communities like migrant workers and daily wage laborers who were affected the most during the COVID-19 pandemic in terms of loss of livelihood and shelter, the tax benefits have come as a huge relief. The tax benefit extensions will offer much-needed respite and time for low-income population groups to complete their homes and provide them access to sustainable sheltering solutions and housing amenities. Beneficiary led construction activities will also greatly benefit from this initiative. These extensions will play a key role in empowering marginalized communities and ensuring resilience and livelihood sustenance for them.”

18:28 (IST)01 Feb 2021
Union Budget 2021: Reaction by Panasonic

Manish Sharma, President & CEO, Panasonic India & SA: The Budget presented by the Honorable FM in the background of five mini budgets is continuum of reformative measures to boost the economy to drive – Job, Demand and Spending. I believe the methodical approach of identifying six focus areas where Health and Infrastructure, with significant increase in allocations, sit on the top is in the right direction to revitalize the economy and invest in well-being of people. For manufacturers, Govt re-iterated its commitment to reforms like introduction of Production Linked Incentive (PLI) scheme with a budget outlay of Rs 1.97 lakh crores across 13 sectors which reaffirms their intent to provide impetus to domestic manufacturing, while elevating India's position as a global manufacturing champion. We look forward to implementation details here to participate. The increased spending on infrastructure to improve roads and public transport is also a positive move and will provide easy access to raw material.

From common man perspective, the Govt ensured no new taxes on corporates or individuals but further simplified the norms on Direct Taxes. To ensure fiscal deficit at 6.8%, the Govt. announced a slew of expenditure and measures along with a clear roadmap to raise funds from strategic disinvestment, tax compliance and borrowing. This is re-imagination of a New World Order post pandemic and now key will be in implementation that will define the results.

18:20 (IST)01 Feb 2021
Union Budget is pro-corporate, nothing for poor: CPI

The Communist Party of India (CPI) on Monday criticised the union budget, claiming it was pro-corporate and big businesses and has nothing for the poor. The budget opened up agriculture, insurance sector and 'everything' for foreign direct investment (FDI), party General Secretary D Raja said, adding a fitting reply would be given for the 'anti-people' budget.

'This budget is the continuation of the aggressive, pro-corporate economic policies the Modi government has been pursuing. It is a pro-corporate, pro-big businesses budget. It is pro-international finance capital, the FDI. So, this budget has nothing for the poor, for the suffering masses,' he told reporters here.  The country ranked 116 in the World Banks human capital index and was also home to 'largest number of hungry people' in the world while one in six children was malnourished, Raja claimed, quoting from some international survey. (PTI)

18:18 (IST)01 Feb 2021
Union Budget 2021: Reaction on Education

Jeet Marwadi, Director, Marwadi University: “Education Budget 2021 focuses on effective implementation of NEP, International Research Collaboration and setting up of Higher Education Commission. It is also focused on providing opportunities for growth and sustainable development at the grassroot level – with 15000 schools to be strengthened and establishment of schools in tribal areas – these steps will show a positive effect in the long-term effect.

Giving special respite to start-ups and encouragement to R&D will play a major role in promoting exploration of disruptive trends, especially with initiatives for schools where free digital education can be provided to every student. The ed-tech startups are here to stay, with no turning back, owing to what we bring to the table. With these drastic, prevalent changes in the education system, we have high hopes in 2021 from the research sector. We will be able to get a 360-degree view with more clarity for other policies under NEP. Institutes will have better synergy with emphasis on accreditation and regular funding of the Colleges and Universities.

However, from the budget presentation more clarity was expected in terms of cash outlay on Research & Development, relaxation on GST for Higher educational Institutions (HEI), subsidizing education loans, incentives to Edu-tech and skill tech sectors that would have given a bigger picture on the actual budget allocation in higher education.”

17:52 (IST)01 Feb 2021
Union Budget 2021: Reaction on Housing Finance

Arvind Hali, MD & CEO, Motilal Oswal Home Finance Ltd: “Budget FY22 has tried to bring back what the pandemic in FY21 took away - “Demand” - from Housing and Housing Finance Industry. Today’s Union Budget has hit the right nerve holistically towards both Demand and Supply side. The extension in date of claiming additional interest deduction of Rs. 1.5 L by 1 year from Mar-21 to Mar-22 shall provide the necessary impetus to boost demand as well as create much-required positivity in the overall ecosystem. Buyers shall have more left in their hands and thus can pre-empt their decisions that were put in the cold bag. The announcement shall awaken the ones who had delayed property purchase as well as pull-up the new demand to own a house. The upper limit capping at Rs. 45 L property to claim additional deduction towards loan interest brings the apt focus i.e. affordable housing finance and affordable properties. Similarly, on supply-side intervention, the Budget extended the tax holidays, by one year, on profits earned by developers in affordable housing projects approved by March 21. Other points like keeping the tax regime unchanged shall bring cheers to the LIG & MIG segments of the society which form the customer base of affordable housing finance & properties; Clear push on Infra development generates employment as well as makes affordable housing projects more accessible which are usually at the periphery of cities, and TDS exemption on dividend payment in REITs shall make them exciting investment option leading to impetus in real estate development - most of which is in the affordable segment. It is a practical budget - a booster shot for housing & allied industry aligned to the PMAY’s Mission of Housing for All by 2022.”

Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman along with MoS for Finance Anurag Thakur during the final touches of Union Budget 2021-22, at Finance Ministry in New Delhi, Sunday, Jan. 31, 2021. (PTI Photo/Shahbaz Khan)

Covid Budget: A to Z of what to expect today

Atmanirbhar Bharat: Some are born atmanirbhar (self-reliant/self-sufficient), some achieve atmanirbharta, and some have atmanirbharta thrust upon them. This is likely to be the dominant theme for different sectors of the economy in the coming Budget.

Behavioural change… of consumers and businesses. One of the most important things to watch out for in the Budget would be the policy tools employed by the FM to change the behaviour of different economic entities in the economy.

Cesses and Surcharges: Of the two certainties of human life — death and taxes — only one can be compounded. When a Central government imposes a new tax on an existing tax, it is referred to as a Cess (if it is for a specific purpose, say, Swachh Bharat Cess) or a surcharge (if purpose not specified). For taxpayers, a tax by any other name would cost just as much.

Budget, monetary policy decisions may put markets through another volatile week


Stock markets, which witnessed a roller coaster ride in the last two weeks, are bracing for more volatility on Monday and in the coming days with expectations and worries running high ahead of the keenly awaited Union Budget.

After hitting the 50,000-mark in a non-stop rally recently, the Sensex fell by around 3,800 points to 46,285.77 last week mainly due to selling triggered by foreign portfolio investors (FPIs) who pulled out Rs 12,700 crore in the last five sessions. “Going ahead, markets may continue to remain highly volatile amidst ongoing earnings season and Union Budget 2021 on Monday. Expectations from the Budget are running high. However, the government’s fiscal response in 2020 indicates certain inflexibility and the lack of resources to stimulate the economy,” said Siddhartha Khemka, head—retail research, Motilal Oswal Financial Services.

“We would suggest investors to take opportunity of this fall and accumulate quality stocks on dips while traders should be cautious with stock specific action. Market would also track the RBI’s monetary policy next week along with BoE’s monetary policy for further cues,” he said.

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