Key highlights from Budget 2022, ushering in 'Amrit Kaal' with flourish

FM Nirmala Sitharaman delivered her shortest-ever Budget speech, outlining India's path for the next 25 years — a digital-first future, built sustainably.
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Reading from a Made in India tablet, Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman earlier today presented her fourth Union Budget — her shortest yet.

Ahead of the Budget, Sensex surged over 600 points and Nifty advanced 159 points in opening trade, starting the day on an auspicious note.

Hailing that 'Amrit Kaal' is truly here — a callback to Prime Minister Narendra Modi's speech last year wherein he said India’s ‘Amrit Kaal’ will be a period of 25 years when the country works towards becoming "Aatmanirbhar" — Sitharaman put a focus on four pillars of development.

These are inclusive development, productivity enhancement, energy transition and climate action, all to be guided by the PM Gati Shakti master plan.

She said, "The scope of PM Gati Shakti National Master Plan will encompass the seven engines for economic transformation, seamless multimodal connectivity and logistics efficiency. It will also include the infrastructure developed by the state governments as per the Gati Shakti Master Plan. The focus will be on planning, financing including through innovative ways, use of technology, and speedier implementation."

For all the key takeaways from Budget 2022, here's a roundup of YourStory's comprehensive coverage of the Finance Minister's Budget Speech:

Budget 2022 sets the tone for India's 'Amrit Kaal'

In the first 30 minutes of her speech, Sitharaman highlighted broader themes the budget would focus on. As widely expected — partly due to the upcoming elections in the battleground state of Uttar Pradesh — the finance minister said the budget will be “pro-farmers, youth, women, and ST/SCs”.

Reading the digital budget this year from a Made in India tablet — a nod to the BJP government’s startup-friendly stance — Sitharaman said Budget 2022 will be a blueprint for the next 25 years, and emphasised “sabka prayaas” is expected to become a major focus for the government over the next few years for strong growth.

ECLGS extended up to March 2023 for MSMEs, guarantee cover increased to Rs 5 lakh crore

The FM highlighted that the Emergency Credit Line Guarantee Scheme (ECLGS) has been extended to March 31, 2023.

In addition, she also announced that the guarantee cover of this scheme will be expanded by Rs 50,000 crore to Rs 5 lakh crore. This additional amount is being "earmarked especially for the hospitality and related sectors."

Sitharaman said that MSME portals such as Udyam, e-shram, NCS and Aseem will be inter-linked, and their scope will be widened. They will now perform as portals with live organic databases providing G-C, B-C and B-B services such as credit facilitation, enhancing entrepreneurial opportunities.

Central Bank Digital Currency to be issued by RBI in 2022-23

Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman revealed the government has proposed to introduce "a digital rupee using blockchain and other technologies issued by The Reserve Bank of India (RBI), starting 2022-23."

The digital rupee will be a Central Bank Digital Currency (CBDC), and Sitharaman said it will "give a big boost to the digital economy." Such a digital currency would lead to an efficient and cheap currency management system, she added.

Nari Shakti is the harbinger of our bright future: FM

Putting women in focus, the FM also declared, "Nari Shakti is the harbinger of our bright future."

She elaborated, “Recognising the importance of Naari Shakti as the harbinger of our bright future and for women-led development, our government has comprehensively revamped the schemes of the Ministry of Women and Child Development. Three schemes — Mission Shakti, Mission Vatsalya, and Saksham Anganwadi and Poshan 2.0 — were launched recently to provide integrated benefits to women and children."

The government will upgrade two lakh anganwadis under this scheme, she noted.

Additionally, a new scheme — the Prime Minister’s Development Initiative for the NorthEast — will be implemented through the NE Council, which will enable livelihood activities for youth and women in the region.

Transfer of virtual digital assets to be taxed at 30pc

Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman said income from the transfer of any digital assets will be taxed at 30 percent.

Although the minister did not directly refer to cryptocurrencies as virtual digital assets, it is likely that crypto tokens will be taxed at a flat rate of 30 percent.

She added there would be no deduction possible in any expenditure or allowance while computing income from the transfer of digital assets, except the cost of acquisition.

Finance Minister announces Digital University, PM eVidya scheme expansion

Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman on Tuesday announced the establishment of a Digital University built on a hub and spoke model to provide education. She also said that the 'one-class, one-TV' channel will be implemented to provide supplementary education to children to make up for the loss of formal education due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

Sitharaman further announced that the PM eVidya Scheme will be expanded from 12 channels to 200 channels to facilitate supplementary learning for all classes I to XII in regional languages.

In addition, skilling programmes will be reoriented.

Centre bats for digitisation of agriculture sector, launches agritech fund

From Kisaan drones to chemical-free natural farming and a new fund, Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman announced several plans for the agritech sector while presenting the Union Budget for the financial year (FY) 2022-23.

Sustainability and public-private partnerships (PPP) for the delivery of digital and high-tech services to farmers emerged as key themes for the sector in this year's budget.

The central government will facilitate a fund with blended capital under the co-investment model through the NABARD, the minister said. The National Bank for Agriculture and Rural Development–NABARD– is an apex regulatory body under the Ministry of Finance to regulate regional rural banks and apex cooperative banks in India.

Focus on sustainability as India gears up for further urban and rural development

As a part of the Union Budget 2022, Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman announced various measures to promote energy efficiency and sustainability in the country.

The minister pointed out that by the time India turns 100, nearly half of the country's population is likely to be living in urban areas.

“To prepare for this, orderly urban development is of critical importance. This will help realise the country’s economic potential, including livelihood opportunities for the demographic dividend. For this, on the one hand, we need to nurture the megacities and their hinterlands to become current centres of economic growth,” she says.

For urban capacity building, support will be provided to the states. Modernisation of building bye-laws, Town Planning Schemes (TPS), and Transit Oriented Development (TOD) will be implemented. This will facilitate reforms for people to live and work closer to mass transit systems.

Govt to introduce EV battery swapping policy

The Budget also had a few announcements regarding electric vehicles (EVs), and clean and sustainable mobility. FM Nirmala Sitharaman proposed that the government will bring a battery swapping policy with formulated interoperability standards, considering the constraint of space in urban areas for setting up charging stations at scale.

“The private sector will be encouraged to develop sustainable and innovative business models for ‘Battery or Energy-as-a-Service’. This will improve efficiency in the EV ecosystem,” said the Finance Minister.

Top exchanges welcome 30pc tax regime on crypto income, CBDC rollout

During the Union Budget 2022 speech today, Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman said income from the transfer of any virtual digital assets (such as crypto and NFTs) will be taxed at 30 percent.

Further, she revealed the government has proposed to introduce "a digital rupee using blockchain and other technologies issued by The Reserve Bank of India (RBI), starting 2022-23."

Although India's blockchain and crypto industry is still awaiting a Crypto Bill defining these digital assets more clearly, leaders from the nation's top crypto exchanges reacted positively to the new digital assets tax regime and CBDC rollout plans.

In a boost to fintech sector, Budget 2022 chalks out the set up of 75 digital banking units

Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman on Tuesday said the government will set up 75 digital banking in 75 districts of the country via scheduled commercial banks to boost the penetration of formal financial services and serve the underbanked population of India,

About 1.5 lakh post offices in India — which will join the core banking system — will also play a part in enabling financial inclusion by offering people access to their bank accounts via net banking, mobile banking, and ATMs. They will also enable the online transfer of funds between post office accounts and bank accounts, the budget stipulated.

Budget 2022 gives booster dose to startups on LTCG with promises of further reforms to attract capital

The Union Budget of 2022-23 has firmly placed the startup segment of the country in the forefront by laying down the vision of the digital economy and a start has been made with a few tax concessions with a bold promise of attracting further capital into this ecosystem.

Union Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman, while presenting the Budget, laid out the vision of the government of “promoting digital economy and fintech, technology-enabled development, energy transition, and climate action” and “relying on virtuous cycle starting from private investment with public capital investment helping to crowd-in private investment.”

Nirmala Sitharaman's framework balances modernising infrastructure with sustainability

Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman's Union Budget speech on Monday balanced urbanisation and infrastructure modernisation with the need for sustainability.

Such a roadmap is vital in the era of ESG (environment, social, and governance), and the 2022-23 Budget might well prove to be prescient for a balanced socio-economic framework.

Among the outlay on major schemes,

  • There is a nearly four times increase in the 2022-23 budgetary estimate for FAME India (Faster Adoption and Manufacturing of Hybrid and Electric Vehicles in India). It stands at Rs 2,908 crore, compared to Rs 757 crore in the 2021-22 FAME India outlay.
  • Schemes for solar power (grid) and wind power grid have budgetary estimates of Rs 3,304 crore and Rs 1,050 crore respectively in 2022-23.
  • Further, Sitharaman has made an allocation of Rs 19,500 crore for production-linked incentive of high efficiency solar photovoltaic modules to encourage domestic manufacturing, as India seeks to install 280 gigawatts (GW) of solar capacity by 2030.

Social media reacts to the Union Budget 2022 in the best way it knows: memes

This was the 10th Budget presented by the Modi government, and the fourth helmed by FM Nirmala Sitharaman.

While the PM Narendra Modi-led government outlined an overarching vision to strengthen an Aatmanirbhar Bharat for the next 25 years, termed as Amrit Kaal by the Prime Minister, netizens, of course, engaged with the 90-minute Budget speech with a slew of memes.

Edited by Kanishk Singh

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