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The Finance Minister of India, Nirmala Sitharaman, presented the Union Budget for 2021-22 in the Lok Sabha on February 1. Touted as the first Digital Budget of India, the Finance Minister mentioned how the Budget proposals rested on six pillars:
1. Health and well-being
2. Physical & Financial Capital, and Infrastructure
3. Inclusive Development for Aspirational India
4. Reinvigorating Human Capital
5. Innovation and R&D
6. Minimum Government & Maximum Governance
Image Source - Business Today
Since the country experienced an economic downfall last year mainly due to the Covid-19 pandemic and the following lockdowns, high expectations were placed on the Union Budget with regards to income tax relief, healthcare expenditure, elder care and other key factors.
While there were no changes made to the Income Tax slabs, the Union Budget 2021-22 had some great news for seniors across the country.
So, here are 8 important highlights of the Union Budget 2021-22 that senior citizens must know about.
1. ITR Filing: Seniors citizens aged 75 and above, having only pension and interest income in a financial year, are now exempted from filing Income Tax returns.
This means that they will not be required to file income tax returns. Instead, banks paying income to these seniors will deduct the necessary TDS from their account.
Source : Union Budget of India
2. Spending on Healthcare: Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman announced the Pradhan Mantri Atma Nirbhar Swasthya Bharat Yojana, a new healthcare scheme that is aimed at developing primary, secondary and tertiary healthcare in India.
Sponsored by the Centre, this scheme will receive a designated funding of Rs. 64,180 crores over a period of six years. She announced that the scheme is intended to provide support to 17,000 rural and 11,000 urban healthcare centres in India.
The scheme will also help in establishing institutions for new and emerging diseases along with critical healthcare blocks in 602 districts.
3. Covid-19 Vaccine : Another important announcement made during the 2021-22 Union Budget was regarding the spending on Covid-19 vaccines.
The Finance Minister said that Rs. 35,000 crores will be provided for the Covid-19 vaccine in India. She also announced that apart from the 2 vaccines – Covaxin and Covishield - currently available in the country, another 2 or more vaccines are under development.
4. Nutrition : The Finance Minister announced the launch of Mission Poshan 2.0, which aims at strengthening, delivery, outreach and outcome of nutritional content.
The scheme, a merger of the Supplementary Nutrition Programme and the Poshan Abhiyan, will aim at improving the nutritional outcomes across 112 Aspirational Districts.
5. One Nation – One Ration Card : This Union Government scheme that allows beneficiaries to claim ration anywhere in the country, is currently under implementation by 32 states and UTs, Sitharaman said.
She informed that the One Nation – One Ration Card scheme has covered 86% of beneficiaries, while the remaining 4 states and UTs will be covered in the following months.
6. Public Transport : The expansion of public transport through metro rails and city bus services was announced during the Budget. The finance minister said that a new scheme will be launched to support augmentation of the public bus transport services.
The cost of this scheme will be Rs. 18,000 crores, she said. This move has been launched with an aim to improve public transport in the country and also to provide ease of mobility for all urban residents.
7. Vehicle Scrapping Policy : The Finance Minister announced a voluntary vehicle scrapping policy. Under this policy, old vehicles will undergo fitness tests after 20 years in case of personal vehicles and after 15 years in case of commercial vehicles.
These fitness tests will be conducted in automated fitness centres. This move is aimed at phasing out old and unfit vehicles, while also promoting environmental-friendly vehicles that can help in reducing air pollution.
Image Source - NDTV
8. Relaxation for NRIs : Currently, when NRIs return to India, they face certain issues related to the accrued incomes in their foreign retirement accounts. The Finance Minister noted that this issue occurs mainly due to the mismatch in taxation periods.
This causes NRIs a lot of other problems as they also face difficulties in getting credit for Indian taxes in foreign jurisdictions. Thus, she proposed to notify rules in order to prevent this issue of double taxation.
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