Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman presented her fourth Union Budget 2022 for the fiscal year 2022-23 on Tuesday, Feb 1, 2022, in the parliament with the aim of maintaining the ‘world’s fastest-growing economy’ tag for India. The Budget was focused on 4 pillars – productivity, climate action, financing investments and PM Gati Shakti plan.
Finance Minister started her speech by saying “I want to express my empathy for those who bore the health and economic brunt of the pandemic. The overall sharp rebound and recovery of the economy is reflective of our country’s strong resilience.”
As according to Finance Minister India’s economic growth for the current year is estimated to be 9.2% which is highest among all large economies. Finance Minister announced numerous measures aiming to Social Welfare.
Women and Child Development
Finance Minister announced Rs 48000 crore under PMAY (Pradhan Mantri Awas Yojana) and schemes for women-led development.
Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman in her speech said “Nari shakti is the harbinger of our bright future. For women-led development, our government has comprehensively revamped schemes of the Ministry of Women and Child Development such as Mission Shakti, Mission Vatsalya, Saksham Anganwadi and Poshan 2.0 to provide benefits,”
Finance Minister added that Saksham Anganwadi is a new generation Anganwadi that has better infrastructure and audiovisual aids covered by clean energy and provides improved environments for early childhood developments. 2 lakh anganwadis will be upgraded under the scheme.
Further Finance Minister stated that the PM development initiatives for North East will be implemented for North Eastern Council to enable livelihood activities for youth and women.
Key Highlights for women-centric schemes are:
- To provide integrated benefits to children Mission Shakti, Mission Vatsalya, Saksham Anganwadi and Poshan 2.0 were launched recently.
- Saksham Anganwadis are upgraded with better infrastructure and audiovisual aids covered by clean energy and provide improved environments for early child developments.
- 2 lakh Anganwadis are to be upgraded under the scheme.
- Budget highlighted the expansion of Mission Shakti to improve and empower women in India. The central government will work with states to mark the success of the scheme.
- As per the data shared by the Ministry of Women and Child Development of 2011 census, women and children constitute 67.7% of India’s population.
- For mental health counselling, a National Tele Mental Health Program will be launched. A network of 23 tele mental health centres of excellence with Nimhans being the nodal centre and IIIT Bangalore providing technology support.
Talking about the Education front Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman kept aside Rs 104,277.72 crore for education expenditure for the next fiscal year which is nearly 12% more than the previous year’s budget. The budget focused on digital learning keeping in view the prolonged closure of schools impacting students’ academic performance.
- In her budget address, Finance Nirmala Sitharaman announced the plan to establish a digital university. This digital university will provide access to world-class education to students across the country. “A digital university will be established to provide access to students across the country for world-class quality universal education with a personalised learning experience at their doorstep. This will be made available in different Indian languages and ICT formats. The university will be built on a network hub and spoke model.”Nirmala Sitharaman announced.
- In her budget speech, Finance Minister also announced the expansion of the ‘one class one TV channel’ programme under the PM e-Vidya scheme. Under the PM E-Vidya scheme, the finance minister also announced the expansion of SWAYAM PRABHA TV from 12 channels to 200 to be made available in all regional languages.
- The New skill development courses will also be introduced in the state ITIs to enable the youth of the country.
- The budget also focussed on Agri education where the Finance Minister stressed revising the syllabi of agricultural universities to meet the current age needs of natural, zero-budget & organic farming, modern-day agriculture.
A big push can be seen for Telecom Industry and 5G Communication in the budget speech by Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman for the fiscal year 2022-23.
Key Highlights for Digital infrastructure:
- An open platform for the National Digital Health Ecosystem will be rolled out which will consist of digital registries of health providers and health facilities, unique health identity, and universal access to health facilities.
- Further Finance Minister said that financial support for digital payments will be continued to focus on promoting the use of payment platforms that are economical and user-friendly.
- To set 75 digital banks in 75 districts by scheduled commercial banks to encourage digital payments.
- The budget has also proposed to introduce Digital Rupee using blockchain or other technologies to be issued by RBI starting 2022-23.
- The budget stated to charge 30% tax on digital virtual assets Crypto, NFTs. Finance Minister said,” that it cannot be mentioned as a replacement of any other income and 1% TDS to be charged further on payments made using digital assets to keep a track on transactions.”
- Finance Minister further also announced the 5G spectrum in 2022 with which India will join the other countries around the world which are providing 5G services.
The Budget 2022 also focused on strengthening the fight against climate change and environment protection.
Highlights on Environment are:
- For the fight against climate change, the FM announced 4 pilot projects for conversion of coal to energy to be launched. Gasification of coal is a process in which coal is partially oxidated by air, oxygen, steam or carbon dioxide under controlled conditions to produce a fuel gas. Finance Minister said, “Risks of climate change are strongest externalities for the world.”
- To promote a shift to the use of public transport in urban areas, FM also announced that special mobility zones with zero fossil fuel policy will be introduced. She also proposed the formulation of a battery swapping policy for Electric Vehicles (EV) charging stations.”Considering space constraints in urban areas, a ‘Battery Swapping Policy’ will be brought in.”