18:07 GMT19 January 2021
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    New Delhi (Sputnik): Indian Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman presented the first Budget of the Narendra Modi-led government on Friday after it returned to power for a second term, promising to take the country towards becoming a $5 trillion economy.

    The Indian economy has now reached the $2.7 trillion mark up from $1.85 trillion in 2014.

    The Budget offers tax exemptions for global companies to set up mega-manufacturing plants in areas such as Semi-conductor Fabrication, Solar Photo Voltaic cells, Lithium Storage Batteries, Computer Services, Laptops etc.

    The minister advised reducing corporate taxes to 25% for companies with an annual turnover of up to Rs.400 crores.

    The Budget gives a push to infrastructure development, e-mobility, the aviation industry, scientific research and development, commercial exploitation of space research and development, and offers reforms in the taxation regime. 

    The minister did not mention the outlay for the Defence sector in her Budget speech but did mention exempting imported defence equipment from basic import duties.

    Sitharaman advised an investment of Rs. 100 lakh crores (Over $1,460 billion) in infrastructure projects over the next five years, while suggesting a fund infusion of Rs. 70,000 crores to strengthen the banking sector and enhance its lending capacity.

    There is no change in individual income tax brackets – no tax liability for income up to Rs. 5 lakhs a year. But, the Finance Minister put forward a higher rate on individual income in higher brackets – increasing the rates to 3% on taxable income from Rs. 2 crores to Rs. 5 crores and 7% above Rs. 5 crores.

    Oil and gold prices are expected to go up, as the Budget moved to levy 1% on petrol and diesel while increasing import duties on gold and precious metals from 10% to 12.5%.

    The Budget has also proposed setting up a National Research Foundation to fund, coordinate and promote research in the country. It likewise unveiled a new public sector enterprise – New Space India Limited, a commercial arm of the Department of Space to commercialise India’s space products like launch vehicles and the transfer of space technologies. 

    The government plans to develop India as a new destination for higher education. The budget advocates setting up a Higher Education Commission in India. 


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