CMYK TUESDAY www.thestatesman.com 02 FEBRUARY 2021 FIND US ONLINE Scan this with your smartphone twitter.com/TheStatesmanLtd facebook.com/thestatesman1875 Pages 12 |` 5.00|LC KOLKATA | NEW DELHI | SILIGURI | BHUBANESWAR SUU KYI’S PARTY URGES PEOPLE TO OPPOSE ‘COUP’ PAKISTAN RELENTS P9 BIDEN INVITES GOP LAWMAKERS TO VIRUS RELIEF TALKS P6 P10 MESSI SHOWS HIS WORTH P12 BUDGET 2021 PROPOSES AN EXPENDITURE OF `34.83 LAKH CRORE, TO BE FINANCED THROUGH BORROWINGS FROM MARKET & DISINVESTMENT BUDGET ’21: THRUST ON HEALTH, FARMERS SIX PILLARS OF THE BUDGET PROPOSALS FOR 2021-22 Health and Wellbeing Physical & Financial Capital and Infrastructure Inclusive Development for Aspirational India Reinvigorating Human Capital Innovation and R&D Minimum Government and Maximum Governance WINNERS & LOSERS HEALTH:The Budget has provided substantial increase in investment in Health Infrastructure and the Budget outlay for Health and Wellbeing is Rs 2,23,846 crore in BE (budget estimate) 2021-22 as against this year’s BE of Rs 94,452 crore, an increase of 137 percentage. The Finance Minister said “I have provided Rs 35,000 crores for Covid-19 vaccine in BE 202122. I am committed to provide further funds if required.” A new Centrally sponsored scheme, PM AtmaNirbhar Swasth Bharat Yojana, will be launched with an outlay of about Rs 64,180 crore over six years INFRASTRUCTURE: Monetizing operating public infrastructure assets is a very important financing option for new infrastructure construction, the FM said. Indian Railways have prepared a National Rail Plan for India ~ 2030. The Plan is to create a ‘future ready’ Railway system by 2030. DIVESTMENT: “In spite of Covid-19, we have kept working towards strategic disinvestment,” the FM said. A number of transactions like BPCL, Air India, Shipping Corporation of India, Container Corporation of India, IDBI Bank, BEML, Pawan Hans, Neelachal Ispat Nigam limited would be completed in 2021-22. FOR TAXPAYERS: No IT filing for senior citizens above 75 years who get pension and earn interest from deposits. No change in income tax slabs FOR INVESTORS: Proposal to increase foreign direct investment (FDI) limit in the insurance sector to 74 per cent, a move aimed at attracting greater overseas capital inflows to help enhance insurance penetration in the country. FOR CONSUMERS: In a relief for electricity consumers, the FM announced that the government will soon provide a framework to allow the consumers to choose between different service providers. The imposition of Agriculture Infrastructure and Development Cess of Rs 2.5 per litre on petrol and Rs 4 per litre on diesel will not result in any additional burden on consumers DEEPAK RAZDAN NEW DELHI, 1 FEBRUARY he Union Budget for 2021-22, presented to Lok Sabha by Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman today, seeks to give the Covid-19 beaten economy a big push, proposing an expenditure of Rs 34.83 lakh crore, to be financed heavily through borrowings from the market and disinvestment. The expenditure for the coming year includes Rs 5.54 lakh crore capital expenditure, signifying an increase of 34.5 per cent over the budget estimate (BE) figure of 2020-2021. As a result of the large Government expenditure, the fiscal deficit in the coming financial year is likely to be 6.8 per cent of GDP. The gross borrowing from the market for the next year would be around Rs 12 lakh crores, the Finance Minister said. The fiscal deficit for the financial year now concluding (2020-21) was pegged at 9.5 per cent of GDP the Finance Minister , said. “We would need another Rs 80,000 crores for which we would be approaching the markets in these two months,” she said. “We plan to continue with our path of fiscal consolidation, and intend to reach a fiscal deficit level below 4.5 per cent of GDP by 2025-2026 with a fairly steady decline over the period,” the Finance Minister said. The pandemic forced the Government to announce several packages, as a result of which the original budget estimated (BE) expenditure of Rs 30.42 lakh crores for 2020-2021, shot up to Rs 34.50 lakh crore in the revised estimate (RE) of the expenditure for the year. Assuring the House that the additional money was well-spent, Sitharaman said “We have main- T VIJAY THAKUR Cold wave condition likely and mainly clear sky. Temperature most likely to be in the range of 23-10 degrees Celsius. RAINFALL: Nil RELATIVE HUMIDITY TEMPERATURE DEARER: A large number of commonly used items, including refrigerators, air conditioners, LED lights and mobile phones, raw silk and cotton, solar invertors and lanterns, automobile parts will become more expensive due to hike in customs duty on imported parts. Budget focuses on wealth and wellness; has villages, farmers at its heart CHEAPER: Gold and silver will become cheaper as a result of rationalisation in customs duty on imports of these precious metals. Min. 38% Max: 22.9°C (-4) Min: 11.4°C (-5) SUN RISES SUN SETS 06:15 hrs 17:25 hrs MOON RISES MOON SETS 20:59 hrs 08:51 hrs Next moon quarter on 04 February THUMBNAILS NEW DELHI, 1 FEBRUARY While maintaining that the Modi government would further strengthen the MSP system, Union Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman said that her government would increase the agriculture credit target to Rs 16.5 lakh crore. The Finance minister said the government is ready for talks with the protesting farmers on the three farm laws as discussion is the only way forward. “We can understand why farmers are sitting at the border. If any farmer has any question, Agriculture Minister (Narendra Singh Tomar) has never denied opportunities for talk,” Sitharaman said in reply to Asserting that villages and farmers are at the heart of the Union Budget, Prime Minister Narendra Modi said it has put a lot of emphasis on strengthening the farming sector and increasing farmers’ income while making an allocation to further empower agriculture mandis. Modi said it has many provisions for the agriculture sector, including for making loans easier for farmers. Lauding the budget, Modi said one hardly comes across a budget that elicits so much positive response, and noted that this was tabled under extraordinary circumstances when many experts were of the view that the government will put more burden on the PTI common man. We decided to spend big on infrastructure in this Budget. We attended to the need of the health sector. We decided to give greater impetus to the economy in this Budget Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman holds a folder case containing the Union Budget 2021-22, at Finance Ministry of North Block, in the Capital on Monday. SUBRATA DUTTA tained the quality of expenditure.” The capital expenditure, is estimated in RE at Rs 4.39 lakh crores during the financial year, now concluding, as against Rs 4.12 lakh crores in the budget estimates. “We know that the FRBM Act mandates fiscal deficit of 3 per cent of GDP to be achieved by 31 March 20202021,” she said, and presented a statement explaining the deviation. Coming in the midst of the farmers’ agitation for the abrogation of the three contentious farm laws, the Budget had several proposals for the agriculture sector. But every time the Minister referred to them, there were protests from the Opposition which wanted the farm laws to be abolished. Sitharaman said she proposed an Agriculture Infrastructure and Development Cess (AIDC) on a small number of items to improve agricultural infrastructure. For migrant workers, she said the One Nation One Ration Card scheme was launched through which beneficiaries can claim their rations anywhere in the country. The Budget proposals for 2021-22, she said, rest on six pillars~ Health and Wellbeing, Physical & Financial Capital and Infrastructure, Inclusive Development for Aspirational India, Reinvigorating Human Capital, Innovation and R&D, and Minimum Government and Maximum Governance. The Budget has provided substantial increase in investment in Health Infrastructure and the Budget outlay for Health and Wellbeing is Rs 2,23,846 crore in BE 2021-22 as against this year’s BE of Rs 94,452 crore, an increase of 137 percentage. The Finance Minister said “I have provided Rs 35,000 crores for Covid-19 vaccine in BE 2021-22. I am 10 p.c. hike in farm loan target for FY22 WEATHER Max.99% BOLD AND ATMANIRBHAR: BUDGET ’21 AIMS TO RESET C VID-BATTERED ECONOMY Announcing a series of benefits to the Agriculture sector, finance minister Nirmala Sitharaman said that the Union Government was committed to the welfare of farmers. a query during her post Budget briefing. Announcing a series of benefits to the Agriculture sector, she said Union Government was committed to the welfare of farmers. “The MSP Regime has undergone a change to assure price that is at least 1.5 times the cost of production across all commodities,” she said in her Budget speech. She claimed that procurement of wheat and paddy has increased manifolds during the past six years and more than 43.36 lakh farmers were benefited from these schemes. Ignoring the disruption made by the opposition benches, the Finance Minister said, “The procurement has continued to increase at a steady pace. This has resulted in an increase in payment to farmers substantially,” she said. Giving details of the procurement, the Minister said the total amount paid to farmers in 2013-14 was Rs 33,874 crore for wheat procurement which has increased to Rs 62,802 crore in 2019-20. This year it was over Rs 75,000 crore, she added. The number of wheat growing farmers that were benefited has been increased to 43.36 lakh as compared to 35.57 lakh in 2019-20. Similarly, for paddy the amount paid in 2013-14 was Rs 63,928 crore, which has been increased to 1,41,930 crore. And this year this is further estimated to increase to Rs 1,72,752 crore, the Minister said. She also proposed nine measures for Agriculture and Allied Sectors, as part of inclusive development including 33 % increase in Rural Infrastructure Development fund~ from existing Rs 30,000 crore to Rs 40,000 crore, and doubling Micro Irrigation fund from Rs 5,000 crore to Rs 10,000 crore. committed to provide further funds if required.” This will develop capacities of primary, secondary, and tertiary care Health Systems, strengthen existing national institutions, and create new institutions, to cater to detection and cure of new and emerging diseases. The Minister said “I have estimated Rs 1,75,000 crore as receipts from disinvestment in BE 2021-22.” She said “we have kept four areas that are strategic where bare minimum CPSEs will be maintained and rest privatized. In the remaining sectors all CPSEs will be privatized.” Monetizing operating public infrastructure assets is a very important financing option for new infrastructure construction, she said. The Railways will monetise Dedicated Freight Corridor assets for operations and maintenance, after commissioning. Indian Railways have prepared a National Rail Plan for India – 2030. The Plan is to create a ‘future ready’ Railway system by 2030. Announcing reliefs in direct taxes for senior citizens, she said the compliance burden of those 75 years of age and above will be reduced. “For senior citizens who only have pension and interest income, I propose exemption from filing their income tax returns. The paying bank will deduct the necessary tax on their income,” she said. At present, an IT assessment can be re-opened up to six years and in serious tax fraud cases for up to 10 years. The Minister said the time-limit for re-opening of assessment will be reduced to three years from the present six years. In serious tax evasion cases too, only where there is evidence of concealment of income of Rs 50 lakh or more in a year, can the assessment be re-opened up to 10 years. Even this reopening can be done only after the approval of the Principal Chief Commissioner, the highest level of the Income Tax Department. “We shall establish a National Faceless Income Tax Appellate Tribunal Centre,” she said. In the housing sector, the additional deduction of interest amounting to Rs 1.5 lakh, for loan taken to purchase an affordable house was being extended by one more year. Further, to keep up the supply of affordable houses, the affordable housing projects can avail a tax holiday for one more year ~ till 31st March, 2022. The capital gains exemption for investment in startups is extended by one more year till 31 March, 2022. Measures to make the GST administration work better yielded results and there were record collections in the last few months, the Budget said. For depositors, the Deposit Insurance cover was raised from Rs 1 lakh to Rs 5 lakh last year. This will be amended to allow depositors to access their accounts to the extent of the insurance, if the bank has any temporary difficulty. Govt allots `35,000 cr to distribute Covid vaccine SNS & PTI NEW DELHI, 1 FEBRUARY The government on Monday proposed a Budget outlay of Rs 2,23,846 crore for health and well being in 2021-2022, an increase of 137 per cent from the previous year, with Rs 35,000 crore earmarked for Covid19 vaccine in the upcoming fiscal. “I have provided Rs 35,000 crores for Covid-19 vaccine in BE 2021-22. I am committed to provide further funds if required,” she said. Underscoring the significant importance of health and well being for the growth and development of the country, the budget allocation for the same has been increased to Rs 2,23,846 crore in budget estimate 2021-22 as against this year’s budget estimate of Rs 94,452 crore. In the Union budget, Rs 71,268.77 crore has been allocated to the Ministry of Health and Family Welfare, as against Rs 65,011.8 crore allocated in 20202021. However, later the budget was revised and increased to 78866 crore because of Covid-19. Bengal logs 179 fresh cases: West Bengal today registered 179 fresh Covid cases and 6 deaths due to infection. The total Covid case count is 5,70,177 and death toll is 10,179 in the state till now while there are 5,420 active cases. 1,07,57,610 1,68,235 11,427 11,858 1,54,392 UNION HEALTH MINISTRY FIGURES AS OF 8.00 A.M. MONDAY 01 FEBRUARY 2021 Amidst border row with China, Defence Budget hiked 7.34 p.c. Farmers sit on a protest dharna against the new farm laws at the Ghazipur Border. In the Capital on Monday. SNS Modi speaks to Netanyahu on terror attack: Prime Minister Narendra Modi spoke to his Israeli counterpart Benjamin Netanyahu on Monday to convey his strong condemnation of the terror attack near the Israeli Embassy in New Delhi on 29 January and asserted that India will deploy all its resources to find and punish the perpetrators. Modi assured him that India accords the highest importance to the safety and security of Israeli diplomats and premises, a PMO statement said. Modi tweeted, “The attack near the Israeli Embassy in New Delhi will be fully investigated and perpetrators brought to justice.” Lt-Gen Mohanty new Army Vice-Chief ASHOK TUTEJA NEW DELHI, 1 FEBRUARY NEW DELHI, 1 FEBRUARY Amidst the ongoing military tension with China in eastern Ladakh, Union Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman today announced an increase of nearly 7.34 per cent in the Defence Budget which will enable the armed forces to undertake critical purchases to meet any threat on the country’s borders. The total outlay for Defence has been increased to Rs 4,78,195 crore from Rs 4,71,378 crore last year. Excluding the pension outgo, the allocation in the Union Budget for the armed forces stands at Rs 3.62 lakh crore. The outlay for weapons and modernisation has been increased from Rs 1,13,734 lakh crore last year to Rs 1,35,060 crore, registering a rise of 18 per cent. This will help the armed forces to go in for key purchases, including assault rifles, missiles and land systems, which have been pending for years. However, the Budget allocation is still not up to the expectations of the armed forces which were hopeful of a significant increase in the outlay in view of the prolonged military stand-off with China and the continued tension at the Line of Control (LoC) with Pakistan. But Defence Minister Rajnath Singh was quick to hail the Defence Budget proposals of the finance minister. “I thank PM and FM for increasing the CMYK defence budget to 4.78 lakh cr for FY21-22 which includes capital expenditure worth Rs 1.35 lakh crore. It is nearly 19 per cent increase in Defence capital expenditure. This is highest ever increase in capital outlay for defence in 15 years," he tweeted. The minister said he was happy the Budget proposed opening of 100 new Sainik Schools in the country. The allocation on pensions for defence person- nel is Rs 1.15 lakh crore as against the revised allocation of Rs 1.25 lakh crore last year. It is less than even the revised budget allocation made last year. Apart from that, the allocation for civil works under the Ministry of Defence is Rs 15,257 crore as against the revised allocation of Rs 15,914.06 crore in last year’s Budget. The civil allocation includes allocation for construction of roads, bridges, government-in-aid to state governments and housing in Northeast regions and border areas. The Defence Ministry has carried out extensive construction work on the borders after the border tension with China erupted in April last year. The estimated budget for the civil works was Rs 14,500 crore and in revised estimates it increased to Rs 15,914.06 crore. The government spent Rs 1,414.06 crore extra in building infrastructure across the border. Lt Gen Chandi Prasad Mohanty today assumed charge as the Vice Chief of the Army Staff. An alumnus of Rashtriya Indian Military College, Dehradun, National Defence Academy, Khadakwasla and Indian Military Academy, Dehradun, Mohanty was commissioned into Rajput Regiment in 1982. In a career spanning four decades, the General officer served across a wide spectrum of conflicts SNS and terrain profiles.
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