Infra, agri, personal income tax get push in Budget

Indian Finance minister Nirmala Sitharaman yesterday presented the Budget for Financial Year 2023-24 ahead of next year's general elections, which gave a major push to infrastructure and agriculture sectors and reworked tax slabs in a relief to the middle class.

FM Nirmala Sitharaman presenting the Budget in the Lok Sabha. Photo courtesy: Twitter/
FM Nirmala Sitharaman presenting the Budget in the Lok Sabha. Photo courtesy: Twitter/@airnewsalerts

"An Agriculture Accelerator Fund will be set up to encourage agri-startups by young entrepreneurs," Sitharaman said. “Agri accelerator fund will be set up to encourage agri startups in rural areas.”

Agricultural credit target will be increased to INR 20 lakh crore from INR 18 lakh crore, up 11.11% YoY, says Finance Minister.

In a big push for income tax relief, the government has simplified the slabs in the new tax regime. While there will be no tax on income on upto INR 7 lakh a year – up from INR 5 lakh – the country's topmost tax bracket has been brought down from 42.74 per cent to 39 per cent, Union finance minister Nirmala Sitharaman said.

For senior citizens, investment cap for the Monthly Income Scheme and Senior Citizens' Saving Scheme have been raised.  

The government has outlined seven priority areas in the last complete budget before next year's general elections. The areas, Ms Sitharaman said, are "inclusive development, reaching the last mile, infrastructure and investment, unleashing the potential, green growth, youth power and financial sector".

In the next fiscal, capital investment outlay will be raised by 33% to INR 10 lakh crore – which would be 3.3 per cent of the GDP in 2023-2024 fiscal, the finance minister said.

For ease of business and to settle commercial disputes, the government will bring another dispute resolution scheme under Vivad Se Vishwas-2. There will be a one-stop solution for reconciliation of IDs maintained by various government agencies, the minister said. PAN will be used as common identifier for all digital systems of specified government agencies.

The fiscal deficit target of 6.4 per cent will be retained in the revised estimate for the current fiscal. For the next fiscal 2023-2024, it will be cut down to 5.9 per cent of the GDP, Sitharaman said.

“This year's budget will provide impetus to green growth, green economy, green infrastructure and green jobs for sustainable future,” said PM Narendra Modi.

“Our Government has taken several steps to empower the middle class and ensure ease of living. We have reduced tax-rate and have given relief accordingly,” he added.