The Union Minister for Finance & Corporate Affairs, Nirmala Sitharaman presented the Union Budget 2021-22 in Parliament today, which is the first budget of this new decade and also a digital one in the backdrop of unprecedented COVID-19 crisis. Laying a vision for AatmaNirbhar Bharat, she said this is an expression of 130 crore Indians who have full confidence in their capabilities and skills. She said that Budget proposals will further strengthen the Sankalp of Nation First, Doubling Farmer’s Income, Strong Infrastructure, Healthy India, Good Governance, Opportunities for youth, Education for All, Women Empowerment, and Inclusive Development among others. Additionally, also on the path to fast-implementation are the 13 promises of Budget 2015-16-which were to materialize during the AmrutMahotsav of 2022, on the 75th year of our Independence. They too resonate with this vision of AatmaNirbharta, she added.
The Finance Minister announced that the Jal Jeevan Mission (Urban), will be launched for universal water supply in all 4,378 Urban Local Bodies with 2.86 crore household tap connections, as well as liquid waste management in 500 AMRUT cities. It will be implemented over 5 years, with an outlay of Rs. 2,87,000 crore. Moreover, the Urban Swachh Bharat Mission will be implemented with a total financial allocation of Rs 1,41,678 crore over a period of 5 years from 2021-2026. Also to tackle the burgeoning problem of air pollution, government proposed to provide an amount of Rs. 2,217 crore for 42 urban centres with a million-plus population in this budget. A voluntary vehicle scrapping policy to phase out old and unfit vehicles was also announced. Fitness tests have been proposed in automated fitness centres after 20 years in case of personal vehicles, and after 15 years in case of commercial vehicles.
The Finance Minister said that the National Education Policy (NEP) announced recently has had good reception, while adding that more than 15,000 schools will be qualitatively strengthened to include all components of the National Education Policy. She also announced that 100 new Sainik Schools will be set up in partnership with NGOs/private schools/states. She also proposed to set up a Higher Education Commission of India, as an umbrella body having 4 separate vehicles for standard-setting, accreditation, regulation, and funding. For accessible higher education in Ladakh, Government proposed to set up a Central University in Leh.
The Finance Minister in her Budget speech said that there is immense potential in manufacturing heavy capital equipment domestically and the rate structure will be comprehensively reviewed in due course. However, she announced revision in duty rates on certain items immediately including tunnel boring machine and certain auto parts.
The Budget proposes certain changes to benefit MSMEs which include increasing duty on steel screws, plastic builder wares and prawn feed. It also provide for rationalizing exemption on import of duty free items as an incentives to exporters of garments leather and handicraft items. It also provides withdrawing exemption on imports of certain kind of leather and raising custom duty on finished synthetic gem stones.
- Voluntary vehicle scrapping policy to phase out old and unfit vehicles
- Fitness tests in automated fitness centres:
- After 20 years in case of personal vehicles
- After 15 years in case of commercial vehicles
- Tunnel boring machine to now attract a customs duty of 7.5%; and its parts a duty of 2.5%
- Duty on certain auto parts increased to general rate of 15%
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