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Union Budget 2023: Tax exemptions for startups, boost to agritech, AI, fintech and more

Union Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman's fifth budget included key announcements on agritech, Artifical Intelligence, upskilling and tax relaxation for startups.

Union Budget 2023: Tax exemptions for startups, boost to agritech, AI, fintech and more

Wednesday February 01, 2023 , 10 min Read

The much-anticipated first budget of the Amrit Kaal for 2023-24 was concluded with the Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman wrapping up her announcements in 87 minutes.

Notable announcement for startups include extending the date of incorporation of startups eligible for tax benefits from March 31, 2023 to March 31, 2024. The Finance Minister also extended setting off carried forward losses for eligible startups from seven years from the date of incorporation to 10 years.

Sector specific announcements including setting up an agriculture accelerator, setting up centres of excellence for Artificial Intelligence and upskilling youth in new age courses will have a bearing on startups as well enterprises in the sector.

Here are the real-time highlights from the budget speech.

12:29 PM Conclusion of the budget

New income tax regime will become the default tax regime for individuals. Revenue of Rs 38,000 crore, with Rs 37,000 crore in direct taxes and Rs 1000 crore in indirect taxes will be foregone.

12:28 PM Reduction on maximum tax rate

Reduction in highest surcharge rate from 37% to 25% in the new tax regime. This would result in the reduction of the maximum tax rate to 39%.

12:25 PM Rebate limit for tax exemption increased

Increase the rebate limit for tax exemption to Rs 7 lakhs from Rs 5 lakhs under new regime. The number of slabs under new tax regime reduced while the upper limit has been increased. For individuals in the slab of upto Rs 3 lakh annual income will not be taxed.

12:19 PM Tax concessions

Better targeting of tax concessions for better targeting of tax concessions and exemptions are proposed to cap deduction from capital gains on investment in residential house under Section 54.

12:18 PM Tax benefits for startups

India is now the third largest ecosystem for startups, globally, and ranks second and innovation quality among middle income countries. Income tax benefits to startups based on date of incorporation has been extended by a year, from 31.3.2023 to 31.3.2024. Further, provide the benefit of carry forward of losses on chart on change of shareholding from seven years of incorporation to 10 years.

12:17 PM New IT Returns forms

New generation IT Returns form to be rolled out. The average time of processing ITR reduced from 93 days to 16 days.

12:10 PM Mobile phone manufacturing relief

To further deepen domestic value addition and manufacturing of mobile phones, relief on customs duty announced. Relief and customs duty on import of certain parts and inputs like camera and continuation of the concessional duty on lithium ion cells or batteries for another year announced.

12:07 PM Fiscal deficit

The fiscal deficit for FY 2024 is targeted at 5.9% of GDP. Fiscal deficit for FY 2023 has been revised at 6.4% of GDP

12:03 PM Changes in banking sector

Changes in Banking Regulation Act, banking Companies Act and RBI Act will be brought about to improve governance.

12:02 PM National Financial Information Registry

National Financial Information Registry will be set up to serve as a central repository of financial and ancillary information. This will facilitate efficient flow of credit, promote financial inclusion and foster financial stability. A new legislative framework will cover on this credit public infrastructure and will be designed in consultation with RBI to meet the needs and to facilitate optimal regulation in the financial sector.

12:01 PM Credit guarantee scheme

The revamped credit guarantee scheme e will be effective from 1st April, 2023 through infusion of Rs 9000 crore corpus. This will enable additional collateral free guaranteed credit of 2 lakh. Cost of credit will be reduced by 1%.

12 Noon Focus on tourism

States will be encouraged to set up a Unity Mall in their state capital or most prominent tourism centres or the financial capital for the promotion and sale of their one district, one product—GI-tagged products and other handicraft products—and for providing space for such products of all other states as well.

11:58 AM Focus on skilling youth

The digital ecosystem for skilling will be further expanded with the launch of a unified scale and digital platform for enabling demand-based skilling, linking with employers including MSMEs and facilitating access to entrepreneurship schemes to provide. Stipend and support to 47 lakh students in three years via direct benefit transfer under a pan-India National Apprenticeship promotion scheme.

11:57 AM PM Kaushal Vikas Yojana

Next phase of PM Kaushal Vikas Yojana to be launched -- will cover new age courses including coding, AI, mechatronics, robotics, drones and IoT.

11:53 AM Scrapping old vehicles

Allocated funds to scrap old vehicles of government and states will be supported for this along with scrapping old ambulances.

11:50 AM Pradhan Mantri Pranam launched for alternative fertiliser use

PM Pranam will launched to promote alternative fertilisers and reduce use of chemical fertilisers.

11:49 AM Green Credit Program

Green Credit Program will be notified under the Environment Protection Act. This will encourage companies and local bodies.

11:47 AM National Green Hydrogen Mission

The recently launched National Green Hydrogen mission with an outlay of Rs 19,700 crore will facilitate transition of the economy to low carbon intensity, reduce dependence on fossil fuel imports and make the country assume technology and market leadership in this sunrise sector. our target is to reach an annual production of 5 MMT by 2030.

11.46 AM DigiLocker services

Fintech services in India have been facilitated by our digital public infrastructure including PM Jan Dhan Yojana, video KYC, India Stack and UPI to enable more Fintech innovative services. The scope of documents available in Digi Locker for individuals will be expanded and entity Digi Locker will be set up for the use by MSMEs and also Charitable Trusts. This will be towards storing and sharing documents online, secured whenever needed.

11:45 AM E-court phase III

Phase 3 of e-courts project will be launched with an outlay of Rs 7000 crores.

11:43 AM Relief for MSMEs

In case of failure by MSMEs to execute contracts due to COVID, 95% of the bid amount will be returned by government and government entities.

11:41 AM PAN as common identifier

As part of ease of doing business, PAN of the business will be used as a common identifier, to be facilitated through a legal mandate.

11:40 AM National Data Governance Policy

To unleash innovation and research by startups and academia, a national data governance policy will be brought out. This will enable access to anonymous data.

11:38 AM Focus on Artificial Intelligence

This budget proposes a series of measures to unleash the potential of AI. Three centers of excellence for artificial intelligence will be set up in top education institutions. Leading industry players will partner in conducting interdisciplinary research, develop cutting edge applications and scalable problem solutions in the areas of agriculture, health and sustainable cities. This will galvanise an effective AI ecosystem and nurture quality human resources in the field.

11:35 AM Effective capital expenditure at 4.5% of GDP

Effective capital expenditure of centre is budget at Rs 13.7 lakh crores at 4.5% of GDP; 50 year interest free loans to state governments extended by one year with an outlay of Rs 1.3 lakh crores.

11:30 AM Capital investment outlay increased

The capital investment outlay increased by 33% to Rs 10 lakh crore, which will be 3.3 % of GDP, which is three times the outlay made in 2019-20.

11:29 AM PM Awas Yojana outlay increased

Outlay for the Pradhan Mantri Awas Yojana has been increased by 66% to Rs 79,000 crore.

11:28 AM Launch of PVTG

Pradhan Mantri PVTG, which is Primitive Vulnerable Tribal Groups development mission is being launched. This will saturate PVTG families and habitations with basic facilities such as safe housing clean drinking water and sanitation, improved access to education, health, nutrition, road and telecom connectivity and sustainable livelihood opportunities and an amount of Rs 15,000 crore will be made available to implement the mission.

11:26 AM National Digital Library for children

National Digital Library for children and adolescents will be set up for facilitating availability of quality books across geographies, languages, genres, and levels, and device agnostic accessibility.

11:24 AM Teachers training in focus

Teachers training will be re-envisioned through innovative pedagogy, continuous progression, professional development, dipstick surveys, and ICT implementation. The District Institute of Education and Training will be developed as vibrant Institute of Excellence for this purpose.

11:23 AM Eliminate sickle cell anaemia by 2047

Mission to eliminate sickle cell anaemia by 2047 will be launched. It will entail awareness creation, universal screening of seven crore people in the age group of zero to 14 years.

11:20 AM New nursing colleges

157 new nursing colleges to be established in co-location with 57 medical colleges set up since 2014.

11:18 AM Agriculture credit target increased

Agriculture credit target will be increased to Rs 20 lakh crores with focus on animal husbandry, dairy, and fisheries.

11:15 AM Agriculture accelerator fund announced

An agriculture accelerator fund will be set up to encourage agri-startups for young entrepreneurs in rural areas. The fund will aim at bringing innovative and affordable solutions for challenges faced by farmers. It will also bring in modern technologies to transform agricultural practices, increase productivity and profitability.

11:12 AM Seven guiding principles of the budget

The saptarishi of Budget 2023 are inclusive development, reaching the last mile, infrastructure and investment, unleashing the potential, green growth, youth power and financial power.

11:09 AM Updates on government initiatives

Nearly 11.7 crore household toilets on the Swachh Bharat mission, 9.6 Crore LPG connections, 220 crore COVID-19 vaccination, 47.8 crore PM Jan Dhan bank accounts, insurance cover for 44.6 crore persons under PM Suraksha Bima and PM Jeevan Jyoti Yojana, cash transfer of Rs 2.2 lakh crores to over 11.4 crore farmers under PM Kisan Samman Nidhi.

11:08 AM Achieving SDG, formalising economy

We have made significant progress in many Sustainable Development Goals. Economy has become more formalised with EPFO subscriptions to 27 crores.

11:06 India's rising global profile

Finance minister lauds India's rising global profile, built on the back of several accomplishments, including unique digital infrastructure including Aadhaar, CoWin and UPI.

11:04 AM Indian economy continues to grow despite global slowdown

We envision a prosperous and inclusive India. The world has recognised Indian economy as a bright star. The current rate of growth of economy is at 7% despite the massive slowdown in global economy and the war.

11:00 AM Budget commences

Nirmala Sitharaman announces the first Budget in Amrit Kaal.

10:40 AM Copies of budget arrive at the parliament

Copies of the Union Budget 2023 arrived at the parliament ahead of the budget speech commencement at 11 AM.

10:35 AM Cabinet approves the budget

The cabinet approved the Budget 2023 ahead of the presentation by the Finance Minister.

10:30 AM Rupee opens on a positive note

The Indian Rupee gained 12 paise to 81.76 against the US Dollar ahead of Budget 2023.

10:20 AM Cabinet meeting commences

Cabinet meeting ahead of the budget, chaired by the Prime Minister commenced at the parliament.

10:16 AM Prime Minister arrives at the Parliament

Prime Minister Narendra Modi arrived at the parliament ahead of the last full-fledged budget of the current government, ahead of general elections in 2024.

10:06 AM Finance Minister arrives at the Parliament

Nirmala Sitharaman arrived at the parliament for the cabinet meeting at 10:00 AM ahead of the budget announcement which commence at 11:00 AM.

09:55 AM Finance Minister meets the President

Ahead of presenting her fifth budget, Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman met President Droupadi Murmu at her residence, along with Ministers of State Pankaj Chaudhary and Bhagwat Karad, and Finance Secretary TV Somanathan.

09:45 AM Sensex jumps 400 points

Sensex jumped 400 points and Nifty was above 17,750 soon after markets opened, ahead of the budget.