Budget 2022: Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman says chemical-free natural farming will be promoted across the country. The value of farm procurement for FY23 is expected to be Rs 2.37 trillion.
On February 1, Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman presented the Union Budget for 2022-23, with a focus on accelerating the economy, providing opportunities for businesses, and potentially creating 6 million new jobs. Agriculture, healthcare, small businesses, and infrastructure were also prominently featured in the proposals.
“This budget seeks to lay the foundation and provide a blueprint to steer the economy over the Amrit Kaal of the next 25 years – from India at 75 to India at 100,” Sitharaman said in her shortest budget speech, which lasted 1 hour and 30 minutes. The minister delivered a paperless budget and read her speech from a tablet, just as she did last year.
The following are the major announcements made in Budget 2022:
1) Tax deduction limit: The tax deduction limit for state government employees on the employer’s contribution to the National Pension System will be raised from 10% to 14%, bringing them on par with Central government employees.
2) Fiscal deficit target: In FY23, the country’s total expenditure is expected to be Rs 39.45 lakh crore, with receipts other than borrowings expected to be Rs 22.84 lakh crore. The fiscal deficit is expected to be 6.4 percent of GDP in fiscal year 23.
3) Updating Returns: Taxpayers now have two years from the end of the relevant assessment year to correct errors and file updated returns.
4) Digital Rupee: Beginning in fiscal year 23 (FY23), the Reserve Bank of India will issue a digital currency based on blockchain and other technology. “The introduction of Central Bank Digital Currency will significantly boost the digital economy,” said the finance minister.
5) LTCG: The surcharge on long-term capital gains from the transfer of any type of asset will be limited to 15%.
6) Digital Assets: Any income derived from the transfer of any virtual digital asset will be taxed at a rate of 30%. Tax must be deducted at the source on payments made in relation to the transfer of a virtual digital asset at a rate of 1% of the amount paid above a monetary threshold.
7) Rail Network: In FY23, 2,000 km of network will be brought under Kavach, the indigenous, world-class technology for safety and capacity augmentation, as part of Atmanirbhar Bharat.
8) Financial assistance to states for capital investment: The budget for the ‘Scheme for Financial Assistance to States for Capital Investment’ has been increased to Rs 1 lakh crore in FY23, up from Rs 15,000 crore in the revised estimate for the current fiscal year, to assist states in catalysing overall economic investment. These 50-year interest-free loans are in addition to the normal borrowing limits for states, and the funds will be used for PM Gati Shakti-related and other productive capital investments.
9) SEZ Act: The Special Economic Zones Act will be repealed in favour of new legislation that will allow states to collaborate in the development of enterprise and service hubs. This will apply to all large existing and new industrial enclaves in order to maximise infrastructure utilisation and boost export competitiveness.
10) EV battery-swapping policy: Recognizing the scarcity of space in urban areas for charging stations for electric vehicles, the finance minister proposed implementing a battery-swapping policy and developing interoperability standards. The private sector would be encouraged to create long-term and innovative business models for battery or energy-as-a-service.
11) Gati Shakti Master Plan: The PM Gati Shakti National Master Plan is powered by seven engines: roads, railways, airports, ports, mass transportation, waterways, and logistics infrastructure, all of which work together to propel the economy forward. The Gati Shakti Master Plan for expressways will be developed in FY23, and 100 new cargo terminals will be constructed over the next three years. In FY23, the national highway network will be expanded by 25,000 kilometres.
12) Vande Bharat Trains: Over the next three years, 400 new-generation Vande Bharat trains will be built.
13) 5G Rollout: Spectrum auctions will be held in 2022 to help private telecom companies roll out 5G mobile services.
14) Mental health programme: With the pandemic exacerbating mental health issues in people of all ages, a National Tele Mental Health programme will be launched to improve access to high-quality mental health counselling and care services.
15) Natural farming & kisan drones: Chemical-free natural farming will be promoted across the country, with the first stage focusing on agricultural land along the Ganga.The procurement of wheat in Rabi 2021-22 and the estimated procurement of paddy in Kharif 2021-22 will add Rs 2.37 lakh crore to farmers’ accounts in direct payment of minimum support prices. Kisan drones will be promoted for crop assessment, land record digitization, and insecticide and nutrient spraying.
16) Digital Education: With children losing nearly two years of formal education due to the pandemic, PM eVIDYA’s ‘One Class-One TV Channel’ programme will be expanded from 12 to 200 TV channels. This will allow all states to provide supplementary education in regional languages to students in grades 1 through 12. A Digital University will be established in order to provide world-class universal education with a personalised learning experience. This will be made available in a variety of Indian languages and ICT formats.
17) Paperless e-bill system: As a further step to improve transparency and reduce payment delays, a completely paperless, end-to-end online e-bill system will be launched for use by all central ministries for their procurements.
18) E-passports: E-passports with embedded chips and futuristic technology will be available in FY23, making international travel more convenient.
19) Housing: In FY23, the government will allocate Rs 48,000 crore for the PM Awas Yojana, with the goal of completing 8 million houses for the scheme’s identified and eligible beneficiaries in rural and urban areas.
20) Defence: To reduce imports and promote AtmaNirbharta in armed forces equipment, the domestic defence industry will receive 68 percent of the capital procurement budget. The private sector will be encouraged to design and develop military platforms and equipment in collaboration with the Defense Research and Development Organization and other entities.
21) Animation and gaming: Animation, visual effects, gaming, and comics (AVGC) have enormous employment potential. An AVGC promotion taskforce will be formed to make recommendations on how to achieve this and build domestic capacity to serve domestic markets as well as global demand.
22) Post office banking: All of the country’s 150,000 post offices will be integrated into the core banking system, allowing access to accounts via internet banking, mobile banking, and ATMs, as well as online transfers between post offices and bank accounts. Farmers and senior citizens in rural areas will benefit from this, as it will enable interoperability and financial inclusion.
23) Hospitality: Hospitality and related services provided by small and medium-sized businesses have yet to return to pre-pandemic levels. Under a scheme that will be extended until March 2023, the government has decided to increase the guarantee cover for them by Rs 50,000 crore.
24) Solar modules: The government will make an additional allocation of Rs 19,500 crore under the production-linked incentive scheme for the production of high-efficiency modules to facilitate domestic manufacturing of 280 giga tonnes of installed solar energy capacity by 2030.