Amidst many expectations from individuals and corporations alike, the Indian Finance Minister, Nirmala Sitharaman, delivered the shortest Union Budget 2022 speech today, bringing in some much-needed economic respite amid the COVID crisis.
The FM outlined four critical areas of development for this year in the Budget 2022 live updates – productivity enhancement, inclusive development, climate action, and energy transition, with the expected growth rate for the Indian economy to be a whopping 9.27%. Moreover, the budget session also introduced a blueprint for the next 25 years, from India at 75 to India at 100.
Here are some key Union Budget 2022 highlights.
Introduction of the Digital Rupee
Keeping in mind the growing popularity of cryptocurrencies among investors, the finance minister introduced the new digital rupee developed through blockchain technology and issued by the RBI. Along with the announcement, the government has also introduced a 30% tax rate on any income earned from digital assets.
Other than that, the digital currency will also facilitate the building of a cheaper and more efficient currency management system.
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Technology in agriculture
Another key Budget 2022 highlight has been the announcement of wider technology adoption for agricultural assistance, especially the introduction of Kisan drones for crop assessment, assessing land records, ensuring proper spraying of insecticides and pesticides.
On top of that, the FM also proposed upgrading the thermal power plants to minimise stubble burning and encourage farmers to take up agro-forestry. The government has also promised support in marketing and branding the millet crop. Chemical-free farming across the Ganges River was also proposed.
Accelerated transportation infrastructure with Gati Shakti
Budget 2022 also had many announcements regarding the expansion of efficient transportation infrastructure. Firstly, Rs. 20,000 crores have been allotted to extend the national highways by a whopping 20,000 km.
As for the railways, the government has proposed an extension of 2,000 km of rail network under KAVACH. Moreover, over 400 new Vande Bharat trains will also be introduced. River-linking projects have also been announced, paving the way for efficient waterway transport and trade in the rural sections of India.
Additional Read – Taxation and the union budget. All you need to know
More affordable housing under PMAY
Following the success of previous PMAY initiatives, the government announced an allotment of Rs. 48,000 crores for PM Awas Yojana. The scheme will also identify some odd 60,000 houses as beneficiaries in urban and rural locations.
What’s more, around 80 lakh households will come under the umbrella of “affordable housing scheme” by 2022-23. This spells good news for potential homebuyers.
Expansion in telecom and support for MSMEs
For MSMEs, Budget 2022 only brings good news. The FM today announced an additional credit cover of Rs. 2 lakh crores for MSMEs. Plus, an MSME-rating programme is also under development, with a budget of Rs. 6,000 crores.
On the telecom side, there’s finally news about 5G. The auction for the 5G spectrum will be held sometime in 2022, and the network will be rolled out in 2023. Plus, all villages in India will have super-fast fibre connectivity by 2025.
With energy being the centre of the Budget 2022 discussion, it’s no surprise that the FM announced many new energy transition programmes. Firstly, the electric vehicle infrastructure will be upgraded significantly in the coming years, meaning more charging stations and more convenience for EV owners.
Sizable chunks of the budget have been allotted to hydro and solar power projects. The FM also announced four pilot projects for coal gasification.
Even though it was the shortest budget hearing to date, the meeting still introduced enough schemes and programmes to look forward to for the coming year. With all the new developments, it’s safe to say that the coming decade will be pretty transformative for the energy, automobile, digital currency, residential, and transport sectors.
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