The Union Budget was presented by the honourable Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman in the Lok Sabha today, 1 February. The first Budget of Amrit Kaal indicated that India aspires to be a developed nation by the year 2047.
Hence, the key focus areas were infrastructure and investment, green growth, youth power and the financial sector. Along with allocating funds for building a stronger future, the Budget also emphasised major changes in tax slabs, capital expenditure and capital outlay for Railways.
Take a look at the key takeaways from the budget for 2023-24.
No tax on income up to Rs 7 lakh
The latest budget bought much relief for the middle and salaried-class people, as anyone with an annual income of up to Rs 7 lakh will not have to pay tax under the new tax regime. However, those who opt for the new tax regime cannot claim deductions or exemptions on their investments.
The Finance Minister also allowed a Rs 50,000 standard deduction to taxpayers under the new regime, which will now be the default tax rule. However, the citizen will also have the option to avail the benefit of the old tax regime.
New tax slabs
- 0-3 lakh - nil
- 3-6 lakh - 5%
- 6-9 lakh 10%
- 9-12 lakh 15%
- 12-15 lakh 20%
- Above 15 lakhs 30%
Green growth and clean energy
Now more than ever, India is focusing to achieve the goal of net zero carbon emissions. To achieve the same by 2070, the FM allocated Rs 35,000 crore outlay towards the country's transition to cleaner energy besides listing out initiatives related to green fuel and green farming.
Funds have also been assigned to the recently launched National Green Hydrogen Mission which aims to reduce the country’s dependence on fossil fuel imports. Besides the existing initiatives, a Green Credit Programme would be launched that would incentivise environmentally sustainable and responsive actions by companies, individuals, and local bodies.
Health expenditure and pharma research
The first Budget of Amrit Kaal came with a stronger focus on encouraging research and development by the pharmaceuticals industry and promotion of medical research both by the private and public sectors. A total of Rs 88,956 crore has been allocated to the health sector, which is Rs 2,350 crore higher than the last one.
Another key announcement in the health sector was the programme for the elimination of sickle cell anaemia. Universal screening of seven crore people will be done, especially in tribal areas where the disease is more common. Other than this, facilities in select Indian Council of Medical Research (ICMR) laboratories will be made available for research to encourage collaborative work.
Make AI in India
As the world has entered the era of artificial intelligence, India is gearing up to develop a strong AI ecosystem. The major announcement in this facet was the plan to set up three Centers of Excellence for Artificial Intelligence in top educational institutions, which will be in collaboration between educational institutions and leading industries. The goal will be the research and development of practical AI applications in agriculture, health, and sustainable cities.
100 labs for developing apps using 5G services
Besides AI, the focus was also put on 5G services, which can bring endless opportunities not just in the telecom sector, but also in other areas. Hence, the FM announced that the government has planned to set up 100 labs for the development of applications using 5G services in areas, including smart classrooms, healthcare and smart cities. If media reports are to be believed, as of now 5G services have been introduced to 225 cities across India. The plan is to cover the whole country by December 2023.