Budget 2021 Highlights : A big jump in health budget, higher foreign investment in insurance and special emphasis on agriculture feature in Sitharaman's speech

Fiscal deficit for both the current financial year (at 9.5% of GDP), and the next one (projected at 6.8%), is more than what the market had hoped for.
05:42 PM

Sometimes it’s just better to be ignored, startups do well in absence of intervention. Creating avenues for new age businesses, is the best thing the government can do. Keeping it simple is never a bad idea for startups.

05:40 PM

If India is looking to be a ₹5 trillion economy – financial literacy is non negotiable and ease of credit for retail customers beyond the top tier of India has to be there.

03:45 PM
Congress leader Rahul Gandhi hits out at the Centre post the Union Budget, alleges that the Modi government plans to handover India's assets to crony capitalists.
The government on Monday budgeted Rs 1.75 lakh crore from stake sale in public sector companies and financial institutions, including two PSU banks and an insurance company, in the next fiscal. "Forget putting cash in the hands of people, Modi government plans to handover India's assets to his crony capitalist friends," he said after the presentation of the Union Budget. (PTI)
03:42 PM
The Confederation of All India Traders (CAIT) hails Budget as progressive document but does not agree with FM on GST
According to CAIT, no new tax has been imposed in the Budget, which makes it even more effective. Although there was speculation about fresh taxation since the last fortnight across the country, which has stopped now. However, CAIT's National General Secretary Praveen Khandelwal does not agree with the Finance Minister over GST. "We disagree with the Finance Minister that GST has been rationalised, whereas on the contrary GST has become a highly complex tax system and does not have much to offer to small traders." (IANS)
03:38 PM
Consumers will end up paying the same or even less in some cases after agri infra cess: FM
03:38 PM
We levied an agri infra cess after reducing customs duty so it won't affect consumers: FM
03:37 PM
Agri Infra Cess not to result in price increase for end users; higher cess adjusted with lower customs duty: FM in post-Budget presser
03:25 PM
The agri infra development cess will not affect the end price that consumers pay: FM Sitharaman
03:07 PM
Principles included in this Budget: Expansion of opportunities for growth; new opportunities for the youth; new meaning to human resource; new sectors to be developed for infrastructure development; progress towards modernisation and new reforms, says PM Modi
02:57 PM
Today's Budget with an Atmanirbhar vision will help make India self-reliant: PM Modi
02:52 PM

Kunal Bahl, Co-Founder and CEO, Snapdeal

02:40 PM
Eateries, barbers, one-person enterprises will continue to struggle: Radhicka Kapoor of ICRIER
02:40 PM
Labour intensive sectors will continue to go through a precarious phase: Radhicka Kapoor of ICRIER
02:32 PM
The government has limited room to reduce spending without further weakening growth: Moody's
02:32 PM
Improvements in tax compliance and monetization targets may be difficult to achieve: Moody's
02:31 PM
India’s Budget deficit target of 6.8% tries to strike a balance between supporting growth and a modest deficit reduction: Moody's
02:20 PM
Newer FDI proposals will help re-capitalize small and mid-sized insurance companies: KPMG
02:17 PM
Going for a higher amount of borrowing is a bold move by FM: Uday Kotak, chairman of Kotak Mahindra Bank
02:15 PM
Production-linked incentive scheme is a missed opportunity as sectors chosen won't create jobs for low skilled workers: Radhicka Kapoor of ICRIER
02:03 PM
Allocation to MNREGA is disappointing as the unemployment rate is high: Radhicka Kapoor of ICRIER
01:49 PM
Stock, crypto markets are up as a ban was expected but did not happen: Rahul P, CEO of Zebpay
01:44 PM
Tax will be levied at source for the purchase of certain goods: Gauri Rastogra, Partner at Cyris Amarchand Mangaldas
01:39 PM
Happy with vehicle scrappage policy: will aggressively invest in India: HImanshu Patel, Founder of Triton EV
01:30 PM
Agri infra cess levied at 35% on apples; 20% on Mosur Dal; and 17% on crude palm oil
01:21 PM
Agri inra cess levied at 100% on alcohol; 50% on chick peas; 40% on peas; 30% on Kabuli Chana
01:19 PM
Agri infra cess will be levied on a number of food and non-food items from Feb 2, 2021
01:13 PM
Agri infra cess levied at ₹2.5 per liter on petrol and ₹4 per liter on diesel
01:02 PM
Sensex jumps 1,600 points after Budget speech, Nifty at 14,000
12:50 PM
Agriculture infrastructure cess will be imposed on certain items
Care has been taken that it does not add burden on consumers.
12:49 PM
Raising customs duty on certain auto parts to 15%
Customs duty exemption on certain kinds of leather will be revoked.
12:47 PM
Raising customs duty on solar inverters increased to 20% from 5%
12:47 PM
Cutting customs duty on gold and silver will also be cut
12:46 PM
Duty on steel scrap revoked until March 22
Reducing duty on copper scrap halved to 2.5%. Duties on raw materials for the textile sector will also be cut. The duty on nylon and yarn cut to 5%.
12:44 PM
Indirect taxes: FM says the government will remove anomalies like inverted duty structure in GST
400 old exemptions under customs duty will be reviewed. This will go through extensive consultations. A revised customs duty structure will be in place from Oct.
12:38 PM
Additional tax deduction for home loan interest of up to ₹1.5 lakh available for purchases till March 2022 under affordable housing scheme
The tax holiday for developers of affordable housing will also be extended by a year
12:35 PM
Dividend payment to REIT, InvIT exempt from TDS
The advance tax liability on dividend income shall arise after the declaration or payment of dividend. Foreign portfolio investors will pay tax on dividends at "lower treaty rate".
12:32 PM
Timeline for reopening tax returns reduced to 3 years from 6 years
12:31 PM
Senior citizens above the age of 75 need not file IT returns..
If their only income is either through pension or interest, or both.
12:29 PM
To discontinue loans from National Small Savings Fund to Food Corporation of India
12:28 PM
₹50,000 crore to be spent on National Research Foundation over five years
12:26 PM
Shagoofa Rashid Khan, Partner and Head - Project, Investment and Advisory Head -Funds, Investment and Advisory, Cyril Amarchand Mangaldas
"Long awaited ask of aligning SEBI FPI regulations with InvIt and REITs regulations finally announced. Debt capital to now flow easily from foreign portfolio investors including ESR focussed funds and financial institutions."
12:24 PM
Ravindra Bandhakavi, Partner and Head-Private Equity, Cyril Amarchand Mangaldas, reacts
"The announcement on setting up of a a new DFI focused on infrastructure financing along with the increased focus on roads and railways is a welcome move. This should give pension funds, sovereign funds and other long term or hold to maturity investors greater comfort to invest further into these sectors in India."
12:22 PM
The government will borrow another ₹80,000 crore in the next two months
This will go towards bridging the fiscal deficit. Fiscal deficit will be less than 4.5% of GDP in the next five years. It will be a steady decline, the Finance Minister emphasised.
12:17 PM
Harshit Jain MD , CEO and Founder, Doceree reacts on Business Insider
Setting up of 15 Health Emergency Centres shows the government’s intent to be future-ready to address any healthcare crises. It is commendable that the government has put healthcare on the forefront, putting focus on curative and preventive health and wellbeing.
12:15 PM
The New Space India Limited will execute PSLV51 launch
This will carry a Brazilian satellite along with a few Indian onces. The first unmanned launch of Gaganyaan is slated for a launch in Dec 2021. Training for Gaganyaan is underway in Russia.
12:12 PM
A new law will be in place for revamping higher education
Higher Education Commission will be set up, says Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman.
12:10 PM
A new central university will be set up in Leh
12:10 PM
Margin money requirement for loans will reduced for SC/STs to 15% from 25%
This is a plan under the Stand up India programme for marginalised sections of the society.
12:08 PM
A new portal to collect data on gig workers, migrant labourers, and construction workers
This will be used to provide health and insurance facilities to these workers. Minimum wages will apply to all categories of workers. New labour codes will be employed. Women will be allowed to work in night shifts but the burden of compliance on employers will be reduced.
12:05 PM
Agriculture: Agri credit target increased to ₹16.5 lakh crore including animal husbandry, fisheries and dairy farmers.
Micro irrigation fund to be doubled by ₹5,000 crore. Operation green scheme will be expanded to include 22 perishable schemes. Agriculture infra fund to be increased to ₹40,000 crore and this will be available to APMCs.
11:56 AM
The number of centrally-sponsored schemes will be reduced
This is based on recommendations from the Finance Commission.
11:55 AM
Surplus land with government ministries and public sector enterprises will be monetised via direct sale or concessions
A special purpose vehicle will be created to execute this. Finance Minister expects ₹1.75 lakh crore from disinvestments in FY22.
11:53 AM
All disinvestment announced so far will be completed in financial year 2022
Other than IDBI Bank, divestment plan for the two other PSU banks and one general insurance company to be executed. LIC IPO will happen in the next financial year i.e. FY22.
11:51 AM
The thresholds defining small companies expanded in a big way
The limit for paid-up capital increased four fold, and the turnover limit increased 10 fold
11:49 AM
Another ₹20,000 crore set aside to recapitalise government banks
Deposit insurance law will be tweaked so that depositors can get their insured amount of money back in a timely manner.
11:47 AM
FDI in insurance increased to 74% from 49%
Foreign ownership and control will allowed. At least 50% of board members will be independent directors and a higher portion of the profit to be set as general reserve.
11:45 AM
Another 1 crore families will be covered under the subsidised LPG scheme called Ujjwala
11:43 AM
7 port projects worth ₹2,000 crore will be awarded in FY22
These will be partnerships between the government and private players.
11:42 AM
₹3 lakh crore set aside to support power distributors in India
The power distribution companies have been under debt and distress for years. A previous debt restructuring scheme did not yield the desired results.
11:41 AM
National Hydrogen Mission proposed to draw energy from renewable sources
11:40 AM
FY21 fiscal deficit pegged at 9.5% of GDP: Bloomberg reports
Ratings agency ICRA had expected a budget deficit of 7.5% due to the additional expenses incurred due to the pandemic and the fall in tax revenue.
11:39 AM
FY22 fiscal deficit pegged at 6.8% of GDP: Bloomberg reports
This will be higher than the estimated 5% for the next financial year by ratings agency ICRA.
11:38 AM
8,5000 kilometres of highway projects to be awarded by Dec
Providing ₹1.18 lakh crore to roads ministry, our of which ₹1.08 lakh crore will be for capital expenditure.
11:35 AM
Additional ₹34,000 crore for road projects in Assam
11:34 AM
100% electrification of broad gauge rail routes will be complete by Dec 2023
11:33 AM
Plan is to create a future-ready railway network by 2030
The western Railway corridor will be functional by June 2022.
11:32 AM
₹25,000 crore set aside for road projects in West Bengal
Another state that is headed for assembly elections this year.
11:31 AM
3,000 km of national highway projects in Tamil Nadu
₹1.03 lakh crore set aside for this. The state is headed for a state assembly election later this year.
11:30 AM
Money to be spent in FY22 as capital expenditure ₹5.54 lakh crore, 44.5% more than last year's budget estimate
To be provided for projects or departments that have shown good progress and need more funds. Over and above this, another 2 lakh crore to states and autonomous bodies and nudge states to create infrastructure.
11:25 AM
The proposed development finance institution will have a capital ₹20,000 crore
The target for the new infra lending institution will be to have assets worth ₹5 lakh crore in 3 years.
11:23 AM
The budget outlay for health and well being ₹2.23 lakh crore.
This compares to a revised estimate of ₹94,452 crore for financial year 2021, a jump of 137%, the Finance Minister said.
The budget outlay for health and well being ₹2.23 lakh crore.
11:20 AM
A voluntary vehicle scrapping policy to reduce pollution and oil import bills
Personal vehicles older than 20 years and commercial vehicles older than 15 years will undergo tests and phased out if they fail to meet the requirements.
11:18 AM
The urban Swachh Bharat Mission 2.0 outlay of nearly ₹1.5 lakh crore
11:18 AM
Universal coverage of water supply
The Jal Jivan Mission with an outlay of ₹2.87 lakh crore to be spent in 4378 urban local bodies over six years.
11:16 AM
A new centrally sponsored health programme ₹64,180 crore over six years
This will be in addition to National Health Mission. Support for both urban and rural health centres, establishing 12 central institutions, strengthening the NCDC, expansion of the health info portal to all states and UTs to connect all health labs, and much more.
11:11 AM
2021 is the year of many important milestones for India
75th year of independence, India's turn for BRICS presidency, and 50th year of the war with Pakistan.
11:07 AM
The Atmanirbhar packages were equal to five mini budgets, Sitharaman tells the Parliament
The government has spent about 13% of GDP in the post-COVID relief measures, she added.
11:04 AM
Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman starts the budget speech
"The budget was prepared under circumstances like never before. When we presented the budget in 2019-20, we could not have imagined the unprecedented contraction in economy. "
11:03 AM
Finance Minister Sitharaman presents Union Budget 2021
10:55 AM
Education is 2020’s most transformed sector due to the COVID-19 pandemic
Currently, public expenditure on education stands at 4.4% of GDP. Expert say India must spend at least 6% of national income on education.
10:48 AM
Do not get spooked by the revised estimates
Remember, we had a pandemic and a lockdown in 2020. There is no way the government is going to be even close to the targets set in the last budget. Read the full story here. https://www.businessinsider.in/budget/news/do-not-panic-when-finance-minister-nirmala-sitharaman-reads-out-the-revised-estimates/articleshow/80400869.cms
10:46 AM
15 minutes before the big budget speech..
Banking and financial stocks are hot! IndusInd Bank (up over 7%) and ICICI Bank (up over 5%) are leading the rally in Sensex, which is up over 548 points.
10:31 AM
Prime Minister Narendra Modi arrives at the Parliament ahead of Union Budget 2021
Prime Minister Narendra Modi arrives at the Parliament ahead of Union Budget 2021
10:26 AM
FM Sitharaman with her 'Digital Bahi Khata'
FM Sitharaman with her 'Digital Bahi Khata'
10:15 AM
Here's what India's co-working sector is hoping to hear from FM Sitharaman in the upcoming Budget 2021
- At the top of their list of requirements is their need to be recognized within the real estate sector. -Need for institutional capital: The co-working sector needs a financial push from the government. Expansion across the country, especially into the Tier 2 and 3 markets, would also require creating financial instruments and loans for the sector-Call for lower GST rates: Currently, co-working spaces charge GST of 18% to all their clients, which are mostly startups and small businesses. GST reduction to the lowest slab for upcoming startups would help co-working spaces retain them as long-term clients.
10:04 AM
FM Sitharaman, and senior Finance Ministry officials called on President Kovind at Rashtrapati Bhavan before presenting the Union Budget 2021.
FM Sitharaman, and senior Finance Ministry officials called on President Kovind at Rashtrapati Bhavan before presenting the Union Budget 2021.
10:00 AM
India’s car dealers are hoping that Nirmala Sitharaman’s Budget 2021 brings buyers back but rising prices may still be a deterrent
Coming out of two very difficult years, the lobby of car dealers in India is hoping for incentives and support from Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman in the upcoming Budget 2021 There is a long list of asks from the auto industry, including the dealers ⁠— from income tax relief to leave more disposable income in the hands of consumers to cuts in goods and services tax on automobiles and an increase in rural spending, infrastructure activity that will increase the need for trucks. The fear is Sitharaman has limited resources to spend.
09:56 AM
Case for a bad bank in Union Budget 2021
India’s upcoming budget may set out a framework for setting up a bad bank to handle the expected influx of bad loans post-pandemic. According to the Reserve Bank of India (RBI), gross non-performing assets (NPAs) could balloon to 14.8% by September under the worst-case scenario.
09:52 AM
In a first, Finance Minister Sitharaman will present and read out the Union Budget 2021 at the Parliament through a tab, instead of the traditional 'bahi khata'.
09:48 AM
Do not panic when Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman reads out the revised estimates
- From tax collections to disinvestment to fiscal deficit, the numbers are likely to be sharply lower than the projections in the last budget- The coronavirus pandemic had led to two straight quarters of contraction in the economy and that is likely to hit the budget projections-According to ICRA, the tax revenue is likely to be 20% short of the ₹24.23 lakh crore expected by the Finance Minister in the last budget
09:40 AM
Airlines want budget 2021 to lower jet fuel price and parking charges
-The aviation industry's deteriorating financial health has raised tax sops' expectations to help reduce their high cost and debt burden, especially lowering taxes on ATF. -The airport, parking, landing and navigation charges constitute a separate cost for the sector and the industry experts have asked for a reduction in the excessive levies along with other sops. -The government introduced a fare price band capping the air travel ticket prices for airlines to a minimum, in order to avoid exploitation by airlines. However, ICRA now believes that it is time for the government to remove the price band and let the airlines decide the ticket prices.
09:34 AM
The Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman will present the budget at 11 am Today.
09:33 AM
This would be FM Sitharaman’s third budget under the National Democratic Alliance (NDA) government led by Prime Minister Narendra Modi.
09:28 AM
Budget will be in accordance with people's expectations, says AnuragThakur
09:22 AM
Union Budget 2021: Market eyes proposals from FM Sitharaman. Sensex zooms over 350 points in opening trade, Nifty above 13,700
09:18 AM
Union Budget 2021 expectations: Smartphones, electronic items could get costlier
Indian government is set to hike import duties on over 50 items including the likes of smartphones, electronic items and others. According to a Reuters report, the hike could be as much as 5-10%.
09:16 AM
From Income Tax deductions to creating jobs and boosting healthcare – Here’s all that could be in Nirmala Sitharaman’s fiscal plans
Defence Budget to get a massive hike: Amidst the long standoff between India and China, according to reports, India’s defence budget could see an ‘unprecedented hike’ to meet the urgent requirements of the Indian Army.
09:16 AM
From Income Tax deductions to creating jobs and boosting healthcare – Here’s all that could be in Nirmala Sitharaman’s fiscal plans
More disposable income in the hands of the peopleAccording to reports, Budget 2021 might take forward the relief announced with the Atma Nirbhar package with the basic tax exemption limit for an individual being raised to ₹5 lakh from the current ₹2.5 lakh.
09:10 AM
Railways Budget 2021 expectations: More funds for faster, greener and safer trains
- Indian Railways could boost India’s GDP by 1.5 percent if it can expand its infrastructure. - Budget could provide policy direction on private trains, and faster connectivity on new routes.- The Union Budget 2021 might see more plans on bullet trains.- Railways sought a 50% increase in allocation for its safety fund—the Rashtriya Rail Sanraksha Kosh. - Support for its ‘Green Railways’ initiative: The Railways set an ambitious target to become ‘Green Railways’ by 2030.-Expansion of Kisan Rail routes across the country: More routes with cold storage, to be provided to farmers at subsidized rates.
09:01 AM
Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman arrives at the Ministry of Finance. She will present the #UnionBudget 2021-22 in the Parliament today.
09:00 AM
India’s education sector pins its hopes on Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman
- FM may allocate more funds for education. Currently, public expenditure on education stands at 4.4% of GDP.- Guidelines on an implementation plan for the National Education Policy.- More focus on digital infrastructure: Internet, smartphones or computers must be made ‘more’ available across the country to bring in inclusivity - Edtech startups seek tax sops, reform measures and incentives to boost online education. Indian edtech startups have raised over $2 billion in 2020. - FDI in education: The sector expects the government to share the burden of funds, and make way for foreign direct investments.
08:42 AM
Finance Minister Sitharaman's 'economic vaccine' coming today
Among the most-watched figures in the budget would be the expenditure on vaccination in FY22 which could be shared among the central government, state governments and households. (PTI)
08:36 AM
Ahead of Budget, January 2021 GST collection hit record high of ₹1.2 lakh crore
Ahead of Budget, January 2021 GST collection hit record high of ₹1.2 lakh crore
08:32 AM
This is Sitharaman’s second Budget and is being defined as the ‘make or break’ budget with expectations riding high.
As India emerges from the COVID-19 crisis, the ninth budget under the Modi government, including an interim one, is widely expected to focus on boosting spending on job creation and rural development, generous allocations for development schemes, putting more money in the hands of the average taxpayer and easing rules to attract foreign investments.
08:22 AM
The COVID-battered travel and tourism sector hopes for sops and relief from the Finance Minister
Infrastructure status for hotels tops the wish list. The industry is also rooting for income tax reductions which will increase cash flow of businesses.
07:47 AM
Budget eve cheer for Finance Minister: GST collection hits record high in January
The gross GST revenue collected in January 2021 reached a record level of ₹1.2 lakh crore
07:46 AM
Big allocation for defence equipment manufacturing likely in this Budget.
India’s prime minister Narendra Modi may have signalled a significant allocation for the defence equipment manufacturing, three days before the big annual budget for the next financial year. While addressing a rally of the National Cadet Corps (NCC) at Cariappa Ground in New Delhi on January 29, Modi said, “India would soon be known as a producer of defence equipment, instead of being a market as it is today.”
07:46 AM
Five tax changes you can expect from Budget 2021
Increase in standard deduction: This may be brought in for people working from homeMore rebates under Section 80C may be tweaked in order to push more investments in desired sectors like housingMore leave travel allowance (LTA) for more vacations and more sops to promote domestic travelIndustry seeks more incentives for research and development (R&D) More tax incentives for creating jobs
07:37 AM
India’s first-ever paperless budget
The Finance Ministry has decided not to print the budget documents amid the pandemic. This is a historic move as it will be for the first time in the history of independent India that the budget papers will not be printed.
07:36 AM
Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman will present the budget at 11 am today
This would be FM Sitharaman’s third budget under the National Democratic Alliance (NDA) government led by Prime Minister Narendra Modi.