Listen to this article:
New Delhi: Finance minister Nirmala Sitharaman on Tuesday framed her Budget speech around the concept of ‘Amrit Kal’, or how India will develop over the next 25 years.
While we analyse the official budget documents – and therefore the fine print on specific allocation to ministries and programmes – here are the top eight takeaways so far, from the minister’s speech.
1. Capex boost: Capital expenditure to be stepped up by 35.4%. The outlay for capital expenditure is to be upped from Rs 4.54 lakh crore earlier to Rs 7.50 lakh crore in 2022-23.
This is a welcome step, although it’s unclear yet how this will be spent and through which route.
2. Gati Shakti: The first half of Sitharaman’s speech emphasised the importance of the PM Gati Shakti plan and its seven engines of growth (roads, railways, airports, ports, mass transport, waterways, logistics infrastructure). The National Highways Network will be expanded by 25,000 km in FY23. Rs 20,000 crore will be mobilised through innovative ways of financing to compliment the public resources.
3. ECLGS Scheme for MSMEs: The scheme has been extended to March 2023 and expanded, with an added cover of Rs 50,000 crore. The total cover is now at Rs 5 lakh crore.
4. Crypto tax provision: Any income from transfer of any virtual digital asset to be taxed at 30%. TDS at 1% above a certain monetary threshold.
5. New SEZ Act: The Special Economic Zone Act to be replaced with a new legislation. It will cover all large existing and new industrial enclaves to enhance competitiveness of exports.
6. Digital rupee: India to introduce a digital rupee issued by the RBI in FY23.
7. Atmanirbhar defence manufacturing: 68% of the defence procurement budget has been earmarked for domestic private industry. Defence R&D to be opened for startups, institutes and academic outlets, 25% of R&D budget allotted towards this.
8. Affordable housing and piped water: Current coverage of ‘Har Ghar Nal Se Jal’ is 8.7 crore households. Out of this, 5.5 crore households were provided tap water in the last two years itself. Allocation of Rs 60,000 crore has been made to this scheme in 2022-23.
Housing projects have been allotted Rs 48,000 crore for FY23 under the PM housing scheme.