Budget 2023: Know the Saptrishi— 7 Priorities For Govt In ‘Amrit Kaal’

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The Union Budget 2023 gives a clear picture of the government’s seven priorities as it aspires to be a developed nation by 2047, which Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman called the “saptrishis guiding us through Amrit Kaal”.

These are inclusive development, reaching the last mile, infrastructure and investment, unleashing the potential, green growth, youth power and financial sector.

Calling it the first Budget of ‘Amrit Kaal’, referring to the next 25 years leading to the centenary of India’s independence, Sitharaman announced major changes in tax slabs under new tax regime, hike in capital expenditure and the highest-ever capital outlay for Railways,

The government has also proposed customs duty exemptions on import of capital goods and machinery required for lithium-ion batteries.

Budget 2023: Here Are The 7 Major Announcements Made By Nirmala Sitharaman

1) No Tax On Income Up To Rs 7 Lakh In New Tax Regime

In a relief for middle- and salaried-class people, Sitharaman announced that no tax would be levied on annual income of up to Rs 7 lakh under the new tax regime. It must be noted that those who opt for the new tax regime cannot claim deductions or exemptions on their investments. She also allowed a Rs 50,000 standard deduction to taxpayers under the new regime.

Sitharaman announced that the new income tax regime will now be the default tax regime. However, citizens will continue to have the option to avail the benefit of the old tax regime.

Thus, a tax of 5 per cent will be levied on total income between Rs 3 lakh and Rs 6 lakh, 10 per cent tax on income between Rs 6 lakh to Rs 9 lakh, and 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 will be levied, while 30 per cent tax will be imposed on income slab of Rs 15 lakh and above. READ FULL REPORT

2) Capital Expenditure Outlay Hiked To Rs 10 lakh Crore

In a major boost to infrastructure development, Sitharaman earmarked Rs 10 lakh crore as capital expenditure for financial year 2023-24, which is significantly higher than the Rs 7.5 lakh crore allocated in 2022-23 fiscal.

“Capital investment outlay is being increased steeply by 33 per cent to Rs 10 lakh crore. This will be 3.3 per cent of GDP. Will be almost three times the outlay made in 2019,” the Finance Minister said.

Sitharaman said 100 critical transport infrastructure projects for last and first mile connectivity to ports, coal, steel, and fertiliser and food grain sectors have been identified and would be taken up on priority.

Allocation for the Pradhan Mantri Awas Yojana, the government’s affordable house scheme, has been enhanced by 66 per cent to over Rs 79,000 crore.

3) Highest-Ever Allocation For Railways

India’s national transporter, the Railways, is one of the major beneficiaries from the Budget, with capital outlay increased to highest-ever of Rs 2.40 lakh crore. Sitharaman said the expenditure for the Railways was nine times the amount provided in 2013-2014.

The funds will help roll out major projects, including new Vande Bharat trains, electrification of railway lines and manufacture of 35 hydrogen fuel-based trains. The Railways is likely to roll out 75 Vende Bharat trains by August 2023. READ FULL REPORT

4) Initiatives For Green Growth And Clean Energy

To achieve India’s goal of net zero carbon emission by 2070, Sitharaman announced a Rs 35,000 crore outlay towards the country’s transition to cleaner energy besides listing out initiatives related to green fuel and green farming.

The Finance Minister announced an outlay of Rs 19,700 crore for the recently launched National Green Hydrogen Mission, aimed at reducing dependence on fossil fuel imports. She also announced a five million tonne target for green hydrogen production by 2030.

Sitharaman also mentioned that a Green Credit Programme would be launched that would incentivise environmentally sustainable and responsive actions by companies, individuals, and local bodies. READ FULL REPORT

5) Thrust On Millet Production, Agri-Startups

While presenting the Budget, Nirmala Sitharaman made a slew of announcements for the agriculture sector, with a special thrust on promoting production of millets.

With the year 2023 being designated as the International Year of Millets, Sitharaman said the Indian Institute of Millet Research in Hyderabad will be transformed into a “centre of excellence”.

Noting that India cultivates a variety of “Shree Anna” grains like jowar, raagi, bajra, ramdana, cheena, saama, Sitharaman said India was the world’s largest producer and second-largest exporter of millets.

Apart from this, Sitharaman said an Agriculture Accelerator Fund would be set up to encourage agri-startups by young entrepreneurs. A new scheme, PM PRANAM, will also be launched to incentivise states and UTs to use alternative fertilisers.

She also said that the agricultural credit target would be increased to Rs 20 lakh crore with a focus on animal husbandry, dairy, and fisheries.

6) Uptick In Financial Aid Package For Bhutan, Maldives

While Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman announced a reduction in aid package to foreign countries like Bangladesh, Nepal and Sri Lanka, it was increased for Bhutan (Rs 2,266 crore to Rs 2400 crore) and Maldives (Rs 360 crore to Rs 400 crore).

The Budget for other countries remained the same as last year, including Afghanistan (Rs 200 crore), African countries (Rs 250 crore) and Other Developing Countries (Rs 150 crore). The allocation for Chabahar Port in Iran was also kept same as last year at Rs 100 crore.

7) Hike In Health Expenditure, Aim To Eliminate Sickle Cell Anaemia

The Union Budget 2023 has allocated Rs 88,956 crore for the health sector, a Rs 2,350 crore hike of 2.71 per cent from Rs 86,606 crore in FY23. While the Budget prioritised medical education and setting up of nursing colleges, Sitharaman said the government would come up with a programme to eliminate sickle cell anaemia by 2047.

Facilities in select Indian Council of Medical Research (ICMR) laboratories will be made available for research by public and private medical college faculty members and private sector research and development teams to encourage collaborative work.

The government will also come up with a new programme to promote research and innovation in pharma through centres of excellence.

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