India

Budget 2021 Live Updates: Rs 2,217 crore for tackling air pollution; environment ministry’s budget allocation shrinks

Union Budget 2021 Live Updates: Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman has presented the Union Budget 2021-22 in Parliament.Union Budget 2021 Live Updates: Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman has presented the Union Budget 2021-22 in Parliament.Union Budget 2021 Live Updates: Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman has presented the Union Budget 2021-22 in Parliament. In significant changes to the taxation process, Sitharaman announced the scrapping of income tax for senior citizens under certain conditions, new rules for removal of double taxation for NRIs, and a reduction in the time period of tax assessments among other measures. Startups will get an extension in their tax holiday for an additional year. Sitharaman also announced that the advance tax liability on dividend income shall arise after declaration of payment of dividend. At the conclusion of her speech, Sensex was at 47451.62, up 1165.85 points.

In her speech, Sitharaman announced that India’s fiscal deficit is set to jump to 9.5 per cent of Gross Domestic Product in 2020-21 as per Revised Estimates. This is sharply higher than 3.5 per cent of GDP that was projected in the Budget Estimates. A slump in government revenues amid the Covid-19 pandemic has led to a sharp rise in deficit and market borrowing. In health care spending, Sitharaman announced a total spend of around Rs 2 lakh crore on healthcare with Rs 35,000 crore on Covid-19 vaccine development and innoculation.

Sitharaman, in her speech, announced a push to the textile industry, a hike in custom duty on cotton and raw silk, a new cess on agriculture development – Rs 2.5 per litre on petrol and Rs 4 per litre on diesel – a central university in Leh, a focus on sea-weed farming with a new facility in Tamil Nadu and a new vehicle scrapping policy that aims to provide the auto sector a boost among other announcements. Sitharaman also announced that an additional 1 crore families will now benefit under the Centre’s Ujjwala scheme. Four poll-bound states – Kerala, Tamil Nadu, Assam and West Bengal – will see significant spending on highway road expansion.

Addressing the nation after the Budget, Modi said it speaks of “all-round development.” “From Covid-related reforms to Atmanirbhar resolve, we moved ahead with this mantra in Budget 2021. It’s an active and not a reactive budget,” he added, congratulated the Finance Ministry team.

This was Sitharaman’s third budget under the National Democratic Alliance (NDA) government led by Prime Minister Narendra Modi. In a significant departure from the tradition, this year’s Budget was not printed and was only made available in a digital format.

LIVE BLOG

Budget 2021 Live Updates: Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman presented the Union Budget 2021-22 today in a speech that lasted an hour and fifty minutes. Here are the highlights and explanations of what she announced in her budget 2021 speech. Income Tax, markets

20:28 (IST)01 FEB 2021

FM hits back at Rahul Gandhi on crony capital comment on Budget

Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman on Monday hit back at Rahul Gandhi’s claim that the Budget favours certain crony capitalists, saying Congress-ruled Kerala-government in the past had handed over a port in the state to the same businessman on invitation basis. Soon after the Budget presentation, Congress leader Gandhi alleged that the Narendra Modi government plans to hand over India’s assets to crony capitalists through stake sale in public sector companies and financial institutions, including two PSU banks and an insurance company, in the next fiscal. “Forget putting cash in the hands of people, Modi government plans to handover India’s assets to his crony capitalist friends,” he said after the presentation of the Union Budget.

Responding to the comment of Gandhi, the Finance Minister said he repeats this particular question every 15 days. “The party which even today does not know to explain if I take one example of Kerala under Congress giving away sea port development on invitation basis to one of the crony capitalists that he is talking about,” she questioned. She referred to Congress-led Kerala government inviting Adani Group, who Gandhi referred to as crony capitalist friends of Modi government, to Vizhinjam Port in the state. Adani Ports and Special Economic Zone Ltd, (APSEZ), India’s largest port developer and part of the Adani Group in December 2015 formally began development of international transhipment project in Vizhinjam, Kerala.

“Can he (Gandhi) explain as to how for developing Vinizam port a crony capitalist, I would not call him that but he uses that word, was invited by the Congress party….if he cannot answer that I think Rahul Gandhi should understand either understand nothing what he is speaking about or he is being ill-advised,” she said. Unveiling the PSE policy in Budget 2021-22, the Finance Minister said barring four strategic areas, public sector companies in other sectors will be divested. The policy would give a clear roadmap for disinvestment in strategic and non-strategic sectors. –PTI

20:24 (IST)01 FEB 2021

Budget has dashed hopes of people of Haryana: Selja

Haryana Pradesh Congress Committee chief Kumari Selja Monday said that Union Budget had dashed the hopes of people of Haryana, adding that the state had been ignored by the central government.

Selja said, “This budget has also dashed hopes of people of Haryana. BJP-JJP government of Haryana is also responsible for this along with the Union government. This government has been talking about doubling the income of farmers for many years, but the situation of farmers is getting worse. Today farmers are on the roads, but still there is nothing in this budget for farmers. On the contrary, the government has reduced the budget of farming by six percent. This budget is completely anti-farmer. There is nothing in this budget even for the poor class. In times of such a crisis today, it was necessary that people should get directly benefitted through a scheme like NYAY. The poor have also been ignored in this budget. There is nothing in this budget for the scheduled castes and women.” Read more

18:52 (IST)01 FEB 2021

Govt earmarks Rs 2,217 crore for tackling air pollution; Env ministry’s budget allocation shrinks

The Centre on Monday earmarked a sum of Rs 2,217 crore for tackling air pollution in 42 urban centres, even as it shrunk the budgetary allocation for the environment ministry from the last fiscal by nearly eight percent for 2021-22.While it has reduced the amount allocated to the climate change action plan by Rs 10 crore and to Project Tiger by Rs 50 crore, the amount for National Coastal Mission has been almost doubled from Rs 103 crore in the last fiscal to Rs 200 crore in 2021-22.Union Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman, in her budget speech, allocated Rs 2869.93 crore for the ministry, out of which Rs 470 crore were allotted to control pollution — Rs 10 crore more than the last budget.In addition to this amount, the minister also announced a sum of Rs 2,217 crore for combating air pollution in 42 urban centres. –PTI

18:07 (IST)01 FEB 2021

‘Aimed at helping corporates directly and indirectly’: Kerala Oppn leaders slam budget

Leaders of major political parties in Kerala, except the BJP, denounced the union budget presented by Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman Monday, saying it has no major proposals to solve the recession in the economy post-pandemic or to put money in the hands of the people.

“As always, this budget is aimed at helping corporates directly and indirectly,” Congress leader Ramesh Chennithala in a statement. “It has given the impression of making some promises for the election-bound states. But it has no announcements for the people facing financial constraints due to the pandemic. There are no proposals to increase the incomes of people or update their skill-sets,” he said. Read more

17:49 (IST)01 FEB 2021

Public transport has received a fillip: O P Agarwal

Dr O P Agarwal, CEO, WRI India, said, “With infrastructure and inclusive development as one of Budget 21-22’s six pillars, public transport has received a fillip. Allocation of Rs.18,000 crore for public buses in urban areas, pushing for 100% electrification of broad gauge rail tracks and bringing down logistics cost for railway by 2030, and the introduction of Metro-lite and Metro-neo for smaller cities, will impact a change in people’s commuting patterns. This will improve our air quality, reduce road congestion and enable an equitable urban infrastructure for the future. Now, there is a need to strengthen the end-to-end connectivity to boost the use of public transport further.”

17:45 (IST)01 FEB 2021

‘Scrappage policy will not only increase vehicle demand, also put polluting vehicles off road’

Charu Lata, Lead Electric Mobility and Clean Energy Consultant, India Program, Natural Resources Defense Council, said,
“The scrappage policy announced by the government is a welcome step. It will not only increase vehicle demand but will also put older polluting vehicles off the road. For effective implementation, the policy can be made mandatory in a few years and regulations can be put in place to ensure that the scrapped vehicles are recycled to reduce environmental impact.”

17:43 (IST)01 FEB 2021

Budget 2021 a mixed bag for the environment: Vibhuti Garg, Senior Energy Economist, IEEFA

Vibhuti Garg, Senior Energy Economist, IEEFA, said, “Budget 2021-22 has been a mixed bag for the environment I would say. In the power sector, While the government has announced infusion of funds to SECI and IREDA, increased custom duties on solar lanterns and inverters to boost domestic manufacturing and is also launching National Hydrogen Mission, what is missing is the support for closure of inefficient coal plant. As well as other support like tax holidays, tax incentives, access to finance for giving a fillip to domestic manufacturing.

In the transport sector again, while there is allocation for augmentation of public bus transport services, it doesn’t say whether it will be electric vehicles.

There is a sum allocated to tackle air pollution and on the other hand the government is extending the timeline for compliance of emission norms by power plants, which is a major cause of pollution. There needs to be a holistic approach, whereby pushing clean energy on one hand should not be weakened by pushing dirty fuels along with it.”

17:42 (IST)01 FEB 2021

Budget is in line with global trends: Aarti Khosla, Director Climate Trends

Aarti Khosla, Director Climate Trends, said, “There are several key indicators that the budget is in line with global trends. The announcement that India will soon have a policy on green hydrogen is very much welcomed. It is going to be an important element of industrial energy consumption and if done well reflects another good step towards transitioning away from coal. Germany and many other EU countries have already set an ambitious green hydrogen policy. Even countries like UAE and Australia that are traditionally considered as the laggards of climate action have moved towards green hydrogen.

“Another good indicator was reduced allocation to coal exploration, a reduction of 30% compared to what was allocated in the previous budget. This is clearly in line with market trends. Global investments are moving away from coal and towards renewable energy.”

17:32 (IST)01 FEB 2021

Know about the couplets Nirmala Sitharaman recited during her speech

Keeping with the tradition of reciting couplets during the budget session, this time too Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman invoked legendary poets by including their verses in her Budget speech 2021.

Towards the beginning, Sitharaman read out a couplet by Rabindranath Tagore: “Faith is the bird that feels the light/and sings when the dawn is still dark.” Click here to know more

17:24 (IST)01 FEB 2021

Why this budget is not an exciting for the agriculture sector?

Why this budget is not an exciting for the agriculture sector? Watch our video.

16:59 (IST)01 FEB 2021

Budget a let down like never before: Chidambaram

Budget a let down like never before; will unravel like previous one sooner than you think, said Cong leader P Chidambaram.

16:49 (IST)01 FEB 2021

‘Anti-people’ budget: Mamata Banerjee

Mamata Banerjee Monday slammed the budget announced by Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman as “anti-people” aimed at deceiving the masses. She said the BJP talks about nationalism, but in practice, they are the ones who are selling nation’s resources to the private players, reported PTI

Reiterating the demand for withdrawal of the new farm laws, the CM wondered if the Centre can waive off NPAs amounting to crores of rupees then why is it hesitant to write off farm loans.

16:18 (IST)01 FEB 2021

Union Budget 100 per cent visionless, complete hoax: TMC

The TMC lashed out at the Centre over the Union Budget on Monday, saying it was 100 per cent “visionless” and its theme was “sell India”. The remarks came after Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman read out the Union Budget speech in the Lok Sabha. “India’s first paperless budget is also a 100% visionless budget. Theme of the fake budget is Sell India!” TMC spokesperson Derek O’Brien said. “Railways: sold, Airports: sold, Ports: sold, Insurance: sold PSUs: 23 sold!” O’Brien claimed common people and farmers were ignored, adding that the Budget would make the rich richer and the poor poorer, while the middle class got “nothing”. –PTI

16:08 (IST)01 FEB 2021

Dialogue is the way forward: Sitharaman on farmers’ protest

“On farm laws, the government is & has always been open to dialogue with farmers. The agriculture minister has been ready to have a clause-by-clause discussion with farmers on the farm laws. Hence we believe that dialogue is the way forward,” Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman said.

15:48 (IST)01 FEB 2021

Budget 2021 not for country’s development, but its sale: Tejashwi Yadav

“This budget is not for the development of the country but for its sale. Earlier, they sold Railways, Air India, Bharat Petroleum, & others. This budget is about more such entities that will be sold including gas pipeline, stadium, roadways & warehouses,” RJD leader Tejashwi Yadav said.

15:46 (IST)01 FEB 2021

Union Budget 2021: Full text of Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman’s speech

Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman has presented the Union Budget 2021-22 in Parliament. In significant changes to the taxation process, Sitharaman announced the scrapping of income tax for senior citizens under certain conditions, new rules for removal of double taxation for NRIs, and a reduction in the time period of tax assessments among other measures. Here is the full text of Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman’s Union Budget 2021 speech

15:44 (IST)01 FEB 2021

Accounting of govt expenditure, revenue statements now lot more transparent: Sitharaman

Accounting of government expenditure and revenue statements are now a lot more transparent and open, says Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman. “Our fiscal deficit which started at 3.5% during Feb 2020 has increased to 9.5% of GDP, so we have spent, we have spent and we have spent. At the same time, we have given a clear glide path for deficit management,” she added.

15:25 (IST)01 FEB 2021

Decided to give greater impetus to economy in Budget 2021: FM Sitharaman

“Decided to give greater impetus to economy in this year’s budget. We have taken progressive steps in financial sector. Everything is transparent,” says Sitharaman

15:19 (IST)01 FEB 2021

Budget focused on health sector, infrastructure: FM Sitharaman

Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman is addressing the media after her Budget presentation ceremony. “We chose to spend big on infrastructure and also to attend to the need of health sector,” she said.

15:12 (IST)01 FEB 2021

We focused on a transparent Budget: PM Modi

“Many thought we will put the tax burden on the common man. However, we focused on a transparent Budge. We have taken the approach of widening new opportunities for growth, new openings for our youth, a new high to human resources, develop new regions for infrastructure, walking towards technology & bring new reforms with this Budget,” PM Modi said.

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