New Delhi, Feb 1 (UiTV/IANS) – The Union Cabinet meeting chaired by Prime Minister Narendra Modi began here on Wednesday.
The meeting comes ahead of the Budget 2023-24 which will be tabled by Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman in Parliament.
Before the cabinet meeting, Sitharaman met President Droupadi Murmu at the Rashtrapati Bhavan.
“Union Minister of Finance and Corporate Affairs Smt Nirmala Sitharaman, MoS Dr Bhagwat Kishanrao Karad, MoS Shri Pankaj Chaudhary and senior officials of the Ministry of Finance called on President Droupadi Murmu at Rashtrapati Bhavan before presenting the Union Budget 2023-24,” the President tweeted.
Budget’s focus on inclusive growth (11:38 AM)
Finance minister Nirmala Sitharaman has said that the economic agenda for the government’s vision focuses on facilitating opportunities for citizens, providing strong impetus to growth and job creation as well as strengthening macroeconomic stability
In her speech while presenting the Union Budget for 2023-24 on Wednesday, Sitharaman said, “Seven priority areas of the Budget are inclusive development, reaching the last mile, infrastructure and investment, unleashing the potential, green growth, youth and financial sector.”
She further informed that the agriculture accelerator fund for agri startups will be set up.
The agricultural credit target will be increased to Rs 20 lakh crore with a focus on animal husbandry, dairy and fisheries, the finance minister informed.
Sitharaman also announced that a cooperative-based model has been adopted to support the small and marginalised farmers.
Budget to encourage agri-startups by youngsters (11:50 AM)
Agriculture accelerator fund will be set up to encourage agri-startups by young entrepreneurs, Union Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman said on Wednesday.
While presenting the Budget 2023-24 before the Parliament, the minister said, “Digital public infrastructure of agriculture to be built as open source, opened standard, interoperable public good”.
She further said that the budget will enable inclusive farmer-centric solutions and help improve access to farm inputs, market intel, support for agri industry and start up.
Railways gets Rs 2.40L cr capital outlay, the highest ever (12:10 PM)
Indian Railways received a major boost from the Union Budget 2023-24 being presented by Union Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman in the Parliament on Wednesday.
The Finance Minister in her Budget speech announced that Indian Railways will get a capital outlay of Rs 2.40 lakh crore, the highest ever till date, which will help roll out major projects, including new Vande Bharat trains, electrification of railway lines and others.
The Railways is likely to roll out 75 Vende Bharat trains by August 2023.
As per the Economic Survey 2022-23 released on Tuesday, Indian Railways has witnessed impressive growth in capital expenditure (capex) on infrastructure.
As per the Survey, capital expenditure on infrastructure has received a tremendous boost since 2014. It has seen a continuous increase in the last four years with capex (Budget Estimates) of Rs 2.5 lakh crore in FY23, up by around 29 per cent compared to the previous year.
During the current financial year (till December 12, 2022), Indian Railways has already completed 2022 track kilometres (TKM), which includes 109 TKM of new line, 102 TKM of gauge conversion and 1,811 TKM of multi-tracking projects.
FM announces 15,000 cr development fund for tribal, marginalised section (12:12 PM)
The Centre has launched a 15,000 crore development fund for the tribal and marginalised section, Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman announced on Wednesday.
“Pradhan Mantri PVTG(particularly vulnerable tribal groups) Development Mission is being launched to improve the socio-economic condition of the vulnerable groups. A total of Rs 15,000 crore will be made available to implement the scheme in the next three years.” the FM announced in her Union Budget 2023 speech.
The special focus on tribals is that the government wants to capitalise it ahead of polls in Madhya Pradesh, Chhattisgarh, Rajasthan, Odisha and Jharkhand.
The Indian economy, the FM said, is on a “right track and heading towards a bright future” and the current focus is on reforms as sound policies resulting in public participation have helped in increasing the country’s global profile.
“Our focus on reforms and sound policies resulting in Jan Bhagidari helped us in trying times, our rising global profile is due to several accomplishments,” she said.
Sitharaman further said that the entire expenditure of about Rs 2 lakh crore under the PM Garib Kalyan Anna Yojana is being borne by the Central government, for supplying free foodgrains for a year to all Antyodaya and priority households.
She said that the Indian economy has increased in size from being the 10th to the fifth largest in the world in the last nine years.
“We have made significant progress in many SDGs, the economy has become a lot more formalized, efficient implementation of schemes has brought about inclusive development, the minister Sitharaman said.
Economic agenda focuses on facilitating opportunities for citizens, providing strong impetus to growth and job creation, and strengthening macroeconomic stability, she added.
Sitharaman went on to say that the seven priority areas of the Union Budget are inclusive development; reaching the last mile; infrastructure and investment; unleashing the potential; green growth; youth; and the financial sector
“Cooperative base model has been adopted to support the small and marginalised farmers and a national cooperative database is being prepared.”
50 additional airports, water aerodromes & heliports to be built (12:16 PM)
Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman on Wednesday announced that 50 additional airports, water aerodromes and heliports would be set up for improving regional air-connectivity.
She made this announcement while presenting the Union Budget for 2023-24.
This move is expected to further push the ongoing UDAN scheme which aims to improve regional connectivity across the country.
“50 additional airports, aerodromes and helipads as well as water routes would be built to enhance connectivity,” Sitharaman said.
47.8 crore Jan Dhan accounts opened (12:16 PM)
While presenting the Union Budget 2023-24 in Parliament on Wednesday, Union Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman said 47.8 crore Jan Dhan accounts have been opened across the country so far.
Sitharaman said the National Rural Livelihood Mission has achieved remarkable success by mobilising rural women into 1 lakh self help groups (SHGs).
Launched in 2014, the Pradhan Mantri Jan Dhan Yojana (PMJDY) is the national mission for financial inclusion to ensure access to financial services — savings and deposit accounts, remittance, credit, insurance and pension in an affordable manner.
50 more tourism destinations to be developed(12:20 PM)
Talking about tourism in India, this year’s Union Budget (2023-24) for the tourism sector promises to hold huge opportunities for jobs and entrepreneurship.
While presenting the Budget on Wednesday, Finance Minister Niramal Sithraman said that the promotion of tourism will be taken up on mission mode with the active participation of states’ convergence of government programmes and public-private partnerships.
States will be encouraged to set up a ‘Unity Mall’ in the state capital or the most popular tourist destination in the state for the promotion and sale of ‘One District, One product’ and GI products and other handicrafts.
50 tourist destinations will be selected through challenge mode to be developed as a whole package for domestic and international tourism.
No tax for income up to Rs 7L in new tax regime
The income in personal income tax is expected to raise disposable incomes and transition the taxpayers to the new tax regime.
Income upto 7 lakh do not have to pay income tax – FM @nsitharaman #AmritKaalBudget #Budget2023 pic.twitter.com/TKdnQ22JsvBudget’s focus on inclusive growth (11:38 AM)Budget to encourage agri-startups by youngsters (11:50 AM)Railways gets Rs 2.40L cr capital outlay, the highest ever (12:10 PM)FM announces 15,000 cr development fund for tribal, marginalised section (12:12 PM)50 additional airports, water aerodromes & heliports to be built (12:16 PM)47.8 crore Jan Dhan accounts opened (12:16 PM)50 more tourism destinations to be developed(12:20 PM)No tax for income up to Rs 7L in new tax regimeDepartment of Space to get Rs 12,543.91 crore for FY24Atomic energy to get lower allocation in FY24 at Rs 25,078 croreNo great sheen for gold in budgetBudget cuts MGNREGA allocation by 30% to Rs 61,032 crore for 2023-24 (15:26 PM) ‘A growth budget focussed on good harvest’ (15:42 PM)
— All India Radio News (@airnewsalerts) February 1, 2023
Suman Chowdhury, Executive Director & Chief Analytical Officer, Acuite Ratings & Research said, “The rationalization of the personal income tax structure is expected to lead to two things (i) raise disposable incomes for the middle class and particularly younger taxpayers (ii) transition the taxpayers to the new tax regime with minimal exemptions and lower and simpler tax slabs. This is expected to give a moderate boost to domestic consumption.”
S. Ranganathan, Head of Research at LKP Securities said the Budget has put more money in the hands of the people through relief from Income Tax which to our mind is a very positive step.
Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman on Wednesday announced new tax slabs for 2023-24, under which no tax would be payable for income up to Rs 7 lakh per annum under the new income tax regime.
“Currently, those with an income of up to Rs 5 lakhs don’t pay any income tax. I proposed to increase the tax rebate limit to Rs 7 lakhs in the new tax regime,” Sitharaman said while announcing the new tax slabs in her speech while presenting the Union Budget for 2023-24.
A tax of 5 per cent would be levied on total income between Rs 3 lakh and Rs 6 lakh, 10 per cent tax would be imposed on income between Rs 6 lakh to Rs 9 lakh, it would be 15 per cent on income between the range of Rs 9 lakh to Rs 12 lakh.
On the income range of Rs 12 lakh to Rs 15 lakh, 20 per cent tax would be levied, while tax would be 30 per cent on income slab of Rs 15 lakh and above, the finance minister informed.
Department of Space to get Rs 12,543.91 crore for FY24
The government has proposed an allocation of Rs 12,543.91 crore to the Department of Space for year 2023-24.
The allocation is for the Department of Space and other organisations under it like the Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO) and its centres, Indian National Space Promotion and Authorisation Centre – the regulator for the private sector space players – and others.
Ministry-wise allocation of #Budget2023
Defence Budget got the highest allocation of Rs 5.94 lakh crore pic.twitter.com/oprF7kUzbQ
— Rishi Bagree (@rishibagree) February 1, 2023
As per the Demands for Grants document, the allocation for the Department of Space for FY24 stands at Rs 12,543.91 crore, up from the revised estimates of Rs 10,530.04 crore for FY23.
The capital outlay for space research for FY24 stands at Rs 6,356.81 crore (RE FY23 Rs 4,553.15 crore).
The NewSpace India Ltd – the commercial arm of Department of Space – will get Rs 1 crore. The company had got an equity infusion of Rs 900 crore in FY22.
Atomic energy to get lower allocation in FY24 at Rs 25,078 crore
The Indian atomic energy sector is expected to get Rs 25,078.49 crore which is lower than what it got in FY23.
As per the Demand for Grants for 2023-24, the Department of Atomic Energy has been allocated a sum of Rs 25,078.49 crore as against the revised estimates (RE) of Rs 25,965.67 crore for 2022-23.
According to the budget papers, tabled in the Parliament by Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman on Wednesday, under the head ‘investment in public sector companies’, the amount is Rs 22,669.12 crore for FY24.
The Nuclear Power Corporation of India Ltd (NPCIL) will get a sum of Rs 22,273 crore and the Bharatiya Nabhikiya Vidyut Nigam Limited Rs 201 crore for FY24.
The other public sector companies under the Department of Atomic Energy – Indian Rare Earths Ltd will get Rs 120.30 crore, Uranium Corporation of India Ltd Rs 59.82 crore, and Electronics Corporation of India Ltd Rs 15 crore – during FY24.
The Fast Reactor Fuel Cycle Projects (FRFCF) at Kalpakkam is proposed to get Rs 515.50 crore.
No great sheen for gold in budget
While the Centre has given a digital boost for the gold sector, in terms of tax relief there is nothing for the sector, said an official of World Gold Council’s Indian Chapter.
“While the reduction in custom duty on gold from 12.5 per cent to 10 per cent is a step in the right direction, the hike in the Agriculture Infrastructure and Development Cess has brought the overall duty to 15 per cent, same as before,” Somasundaram P.R., Regional CEO, India at World Gold Council, said.
He said high taxes will impede efforts to make gold an asset class, particularly at a time when gold prices have risen globally. Moreover, the thriving grey market has diluted efforts to reduce cash transactions and penalizes organised and compliant players.
“On a positive note, the Budget also announced that the conversion of physical gold to Electronic Gold Receipt will not attract any capital gains. Thus, providing an overall digital boost to the industry and promoting investments in the electronic equivalent of gold. Directionally, this year’s Budget can be considered positive for the industry,” Somasundaram added.
Budget cuts MGNREGA allocation by 30% to Rs 61,032 crore for 2023-24 (15:26 PM)
The government has slashed the budgetary allocation for rural job guarantee scheme, the Mahatma Gandhi National Rural Employment Guarantee Scheme (MGNREGA) by 30 per cent to Rs 61,032.65 crore for 2023-24 in the Union Budget, presented by Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman on Wednesday.
This is 30 per cent less than the revised estimate of Rs 89,154.65 crore for 2022-23.
It is the second straight cut in the scheme’s budgetary allocation, as in the 2022-23 budget also, the MGNREGA’s budgetary allocation had been cut by 25 per cent to Rs 73,000 crore from the revised estimate of Rs 98,000 crore.
The job guarantee scheme offers 100 days of wage-based employment every fiscal to each rural household across the country.
The MGNREGA was introduced in 2005 through a Parliamentary Act, and earmarks one-third of rural jobs for women.
Over the years, the scheme has come across as a gamechanger, as lakhs of rural households have gained employment through it.
During the Coronavirus-induced lockdown, lakhs of migrant workers had found work under it when they were forced to return to their native places.
‘A growth budget focussed on good harvest’ (15:42 PM)
The Union Budget for 2023-24 presented by Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman on Wednesday has portrayed a positive outlook for the agriculture and animal husbandry, dairy and fisheries sectors and the proposals will result in long-term growth that will give greater results in the coming years, industry officials said.
“The Budget has proven to showcase that the future of the agriculture sector in the country is bright, with its well-researched, and nuanced focus towards the sector,” said Karthik Jayaraman, Co-Founder and Managing Director, WayCool Foods and Products Ltd, a food and agri-tech platform.
Welcoming Sitharaman’s announcement on the government providing digital public infrastructure for agriculture, enabling an open-source, open-standard, and inter-operable public good encompassing farmer-centric solutions, Jayaraman said the move will improve access to farm inputs for the farmers whilst also boosting market intelligence, thereby, also providing support to agri-tech and start-up growth.
He said the launch of the Agriculture Accelerator Fund will provide ample relief to the industry, in terms of encouraging young entrepreneurs towards the sector while also bringing in innovative and affordable solutions to address the challenges faced by farmers, especially in terms of enhancing profitability and equipping modern technology.
Moreover, disease infestation has been a dire problem affecting 35 per cent of total crop productivity, the Atmanirbhar clean plant programme with a budget allocation of Rs 2,200 crore will offer farmers access to the availability of disease-free, clean planting materials, benefitting crop yield in large numbers, Jayaraman added.
“We are glad to hear a number of farmer-friendly initiatives by Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman which undoubtedly will support our agricultural economy and accelerate growth amongst other sectors such as animal husbandry, dairy and fisheries,” said B. Soundararajan, Chairman, Suguna Group.
He said the Agriculture Acceleration Fund would be extremely useful in stimulating agricultural start-ups in rural areas through a collaboration between the farmers, state, and the sector.
“Overall, investment in resources and modern technology in these domains will surely contribute in the formation of long-term growth that will give greater results in the coming years,” Soundararajan said.