Budget: Focus On Health, Farmers, Polls; Relief For Seniors Above 75

Budget 2021: Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman presented the ninth budget of Prime Minister Narendra Modi's government in the Lok Sabha

Budget: Nirmala Sitharaman said the budget preparation was undertaken in circumstances like never before.

Highlights

  • FDI in insurance sector increased from 49 per cent to 74 per cent
  • IPO for Life Insurance Corporation (LIC) this year, said Nirmala Sitharam
  • Rs 35,000 crore announced for Covid vaccines
New Delhi: Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman, announcing Budget 2021 aimed at reviving an economy badly hit by the coronavirus pandemic, said the country's healthcare spending would be doubled to Rs 2,23,846 crore and added that 35,000 crore would be spent on Covid vaccines. Capital expenditure will be increased to Rs 5.54 lakh crore, which is around 34 per cent higher than last year. The government also announced infrastructure projects in states like Bengal and Assam, where polls are due by May. While there were no big tax announcements, the Finance Minister announced a reprieve for pensioners who are 75-plus, will no longer be required to file tax returns. Ms Sitharaman said the Budget was prepared in circumstances like never before and that the government was fully prepared to back and facilitate a reset of the economy.

Here's your 10-point cheatsheet to Budget 2021:

  1. Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman on Monday proposed more than doubling the healthcare spending to Rs 2.2 lakh crore. Out of this, an amount of Rs 35,000 crore has been allocated for developing Covid-19 vaccines.

  2. The government has increased capital expenditure by around 34 per cent to Rs 5.54 lakh crore in an attempt to nurse the country's economy back to health. Budget 2021 provided every opportunity for the economy to capture pace and grow sustainably, Ms Sitharaman said.

  3. Ms Sitharaman expanded the National Infrastructure Pipeline to cover 7,400 projects by 2025. She also announced the creation of a development finance institution called the National Bank for Financing Infrastructure and Development, with a capital base of Rs 20,000 crore and a lending target of Rs 5 lakh crore over a 3-years time horizon

  4. In an incentive to the farming community, the government announced an increase in agriculture credit target to Rs 16.5 lakh crore in FY 2021-22. The Finance Minister also gave an assurance that the procurement of produce by the government under the minimum support price (MSP) will continue at a steady pace.

  5. The Foreign Direct Investment (FDI) in the insurance sector has been increased from 49 per cent to 74 per cent

  6. In a big relief to citizens, the Finance Minister announced that the compliance burden will be reduced for citizens aged 75 years and above. Senior citizens with only one pension and interest scheme are exempted from filing income tax returns.

  7. Ms Sitharaman said the government will infuse Rs 20,000 crore into public sector banks (PSBs) in 2021-22 in order to meet the regulatory norms. For the current financial year, the government had made a provision of Rs 20,000 crore towards recapitalisation.

  8. In order to incentivise the purchase of affordable house, the finance minister proposed to extend the period for claiming an additional deduction for the interest of Rs 1.5 lakh paid for home loans by one year to March 31, 2022

  9. Nirmala Sitharaman announced special infrastructure projects for poll-bound states of Assam, West Bengal, Kerala and Tamil Nadu. A whooping 1.03 lakh crore has been set aside for Tamil Nadu; Kerala has been earmarked Rs 65,000 crore and Assam has received Rs 34,000 crore.

  10. According to Ms Sitharaman, Budget 2021 proposals rest on six pillars. These are Health and Well-Being, Physical and Financial capital and infrastructure, Inclusive Development for Aspirational India, Reinvigorating Human Capital, Innovation and R&D, and Minimum Government, and Maximum Governance.