- India will become a $3 trillion economy in the current fiscal year and scale up to $5 trillion in the next few years, Nirmala Sitharaman announced, through a plan to invest heavily in infrastructure and job creation.
- While there were no changes to the Rs 5 lakh-per-year ceiling on individual income tax announced in February's interim budget, the government announced a 3 and 7 per cent surcharge on people making Rs 2-5 crore and above Rs 5 crore respectively.
- It also proposed that all companies with an annual turnover of Rs 400 crore will now be under the 25 per cent tax bracket - a lower rate that earlier applied to companies earning Rs 250 crore or less. A relief in securities transaction tax was also announced.
- Foreign direct investment restrictions in single-brand retail, aviation, insurance, media and animation sectors will be eased, the Finance Minister said. Proposals for startups included no scrutiny of angel funding for investors and companies filing requisite returns and a new government-funded television channel.
- State-owned banks will be provided Rs 70,000 crore of additional capital. The government announced a 2 per cent TDS or tax deduction at source for cash withdrawals exceeding Rs 1 crore per year in a move to encourage business to move to electronic transactions.
- Over the next five years, 1.25 lakh kilometres of roads will be upgraded at a cost of over Rs 80,000 crore. The country will foray into aircraft financing and leasing activities.
- Ms Sitharaman reiterated PM Modi's ambitious goal of doubling farmers' income by 2022 through measures like "zero budget farming". "Gaon (village), garib (poor), and kisan (farmer)" will be at the centre of all government steps, the Finance Minister said.
- Customs duty on steel has been raised to 7.5 per cent from 5 per cent and that on gold and precious metals to 12.5 per cent. Duties on several imported items have also been increased to encourage local manufacturing.
- Fiscal deficit - the gap between what the government earns and spends - will be 3.3 per cent of the Gross Domestic Product (GDP), Nirmala Sitharaman said. The government also hiked its disinvestment target in the current fiscal year from Rs 90,000 crore to Rs 1.05 lakh crore.
- PM Modi welcomed the budget, saying it took care of "economic reforms, ease of living for common man, welfare of villages and poor". He was countered by Congress lawmaker Shashi Tharoor who said, "There was nothing for the aam aadmi (common man) in this budget. He will now pay Rs 2 per litre more on petrol and diesel which will have a knock-off effect on everything."
(With inputs from agencies)
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