The Union Minister for Finance & Corporate Affairs, Smt Nirmala Sitharaman presented the Union Budget 2021-22 in Parliament on 1st February, 2021, which is the first budget of this new decade and also a digital one in the backdrop of unprecedented COVID-19 crisis. Laying a vision for AatmaNirbhar Bharat, she said this is an expression of 130 crore Indians who have full confidence in their capabilities and skills. She said that Budget proposals will further strengthen the Sankalp of Nation First, Doubling Farmer’s Income, Strong Infrastructure, Healthy India, Good Governance, Opportunities for youth, Education for All, Women Empowerment, and Inclusive Development among others.
The Budget proposals for 2021-22 rest on 6-pillars.
DIRECT TAX PROPOSALS
The Finance Minister provided relief to senior citizens in filing of income tax returns, reduced time limit for income tax proceedings announced setting up of the Dispute Resolution Committee, faceless ITAT, relaxation to NRIs, increase in exemption limit from audit and relief for dividend income. She also announced steps to attract foreign investment into infrastructure, relief to affordable housing and rental housing, tax incentives to IFSC, relief to small charitable trusts, and steps for incentivizing Start-ups in the country.
Smt.Nirmala Sitharaman, in her Budget speech, said that post-pandemic, a new world order seems to be emerging and India will have a leading role therein. She said in this scenario, our tax system has to be transparent, efficient and should promote investment and employment in the country. The Minister said that at the same time, it should put minimum burden on our tax payers.
In order to incentivize start ups in the country, Smt. Sitharaman announced extension in the eligibility for claiming tax holiday for start ups by one more year till 31st March, 2022. In order to incentivize funding of start ups, she proposed extending the Capital Gains exemption for investment in start ups by one more year till 31st March, 2022.
To incentivize digital transaction and to reduce the compliance burden of the person who is carrying almost all of the transactions digitally, the Budget proposes to increase the limit for tax audit for persons who are undertaking 95 per cent of their transaction digitally from Rs. 5 Crore to Rs. 10 Crore.
To attract foreign investment into infrastructure sector, the Budget proposes to relax certain conditions relating to prohibition on private funding, restriction on commercial activities and direct investment in infrastructure. In order to allow funding of infrastructure by issue of zero coupon bonds, the Budget proposes to make notified infrastructure debt funds eligible to raise funds by issuing tax efficient zero coupon bonds.
In order to promote International Financial Services Centre (IFSC) in GIFT City, the Budget proposes more tax incentives.
The Budget proposes that details of capital gains from listed securities, dividend income and interest from banks, post office etc. will also be pre-filled to ease filing of returns. Details of salary income, tax payment, TDS etc already come pre-filled in returns.
INDIRECT TAX PROPOSALS
On the issue of Indirect Tax proposals, the Minister said that record GST collections have been made in the last few months. She said several measures have been taken to further simplify the GST. The capacity of GSTN system has been announced. Deep analytics and artificial intelligence have been deployed to identity tax evaders and fake billers, launching special drives against them. The Finance Minister assured the House that every possible measure shall be taken to smoothen the GST further and remove anomalies such as the inverted duty structure.
With respect to the custom duty policy, the Finance Minister said that it has the twin objectives of promoting domestic manufacturing and helping India get on to global value change and export better. She said that the thrust now has to be on easy access to raw materials and exports of value added products. In this regard, she proposed to review 400 old exemptions in the custom duty structure this year. She announced that extensive consultation will be conducted and from 1st October, 2021, a revised custom duty structure free of distortions will be put in place. She also proposed that any new custom duty exemptions henceforth will have validity upto to the 31st March following 2 years of the date of its issue.
The Finance Minister announced withdrawal of a few exemptions on parts of chargers and sub-parts of mobile phones further some parts of mobiles will move from “NIL” rate to a moderate 2.5 per cent. She also announced reducing custom duty uniformly to 7.5 per cent on semis, flat, and long products of non-alloy and stainless steel. She also announced exempting duty on steel scrap for a period upto 31st March 2022.
The Finance Minister said that a phased manufacturing plan for solar cells and solar panels will be notified to build up domestic capacity. She announced raising duty on solar inverter from 5 per cent to 20 percent and on solar lanterns from 5 per cent to 15 per cent. The Finance Minister in her Budget speech said that there is immense potential in manufacturing heavy capital equipment domestically and the rate structure will be comprehensively reviewed in due course.
Regarding rationalization of procedures and easing of compliance, the Finance Minister proposed certain changes in the provisions relating to ADD and CVD levies. She also said that to complete customs investigation, definite time-lines are being prescribed. The Minister said that the Turant Custom Initiative rolled out in 2020 has helped in putting a check of misuse of FTAs.
Details of the Union Budget 2021-22 can be seen from the link :