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HomeNews and UpdatesFinanceHighlights of the 2023 Union Budget: Announcements for 15 Key Sectors

Highlights of the 2023 Union Budget: Announcements for 15 Key Sectors

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Honourable finance and corporate affairs minister Nirmala Sitharaman presented her 5th Union Budget on 1st February 2023 for the financial year 2023-24. She presented it with the utmost zeal and optimism as she emphasised that the Indian economy is on the right path, heading towards a bright future. The world has recognised the Indian economy as a ‘bright star’ as economic growth is estimated at 7% for FY 2022-23, which is the highest among all major economies. This was despite the massive global slowdown caused by the COVID-19 pandemic and the unfortunate Russia-Ukraine War.

She further stated that India’s G20 presidency gives it a tremendous opportunity to strengthen its role in the world economic order. 

There are a few key announcements made in Budget 2023. The most notable one is the change in the personal income tax slabs for the salaried class. To get a sense of what the budget is all about, read on. 

Did you know that if you earn up to 7 lakhs a year, you don’t have to pay income tax as per the new tax regime?

Note: The information and images used in the blog are sourced from the PIB website. 

Highlights of the Union Budget 2023

The Union Budget 2023-24 is built on a vision for Amrit Kaal that includes a technology-driven and knowledge-based economy with strong public finances, and a robust financial sector. 3 focus areas have been identified to achieve this vision:

1. Facilitating ample opportunities for citizens, especially the youth, to fulfil their aspirations

2. Providing strong impetus to growth and job creation and

3. Strengthening macroeconomic stability.

To service these focus areas, the following 4 opportunities have been recognised as transformative during Amrit Kaal:

1. Economic Empowerment of Women: Mobilising rural women into 81 lakh self-help groups to reach the next stage of economic empowerment.

2. PM VIshwakarma KAushal Samman (PM VIKAS): Enabling traditional artisans to improve their products’ quality, scale and reach, integrating them into the MSME value chain.

3. Tourism: Tapping large potential and promoting tourism on a mission basis.

4. Green Growth: Reducing carbon intensity and providing large-scale green job opportunities.

What is Amrit Kaal?

The term Amrit Kaal was used in 2021 during the 75th Independence Day celebrations. Amrit Kaal refers to the next 25 years of Independent India that will take us towards year 100 of freedom. Union Budget 2022 laid the foundation and gave a blueprint to steer the economy over the Amrit Kaal of the next 25 years — from India at 75 to India at 100.

Also Read: COVID Impact: 99% of Indian SMBs looking to offer contactless services permanently

Budget Estimates for FY 2023-24

1. Total Receipts and Expenditure: The total receipts other than borrowings are estimated to be at 27.2 lakh crore and the total expenditure is estimated at 45 lakh crore.

2. Tax Receipts: The net tax receipts are estimated to be at 23.3 lakh crore.

3. Fiscal Deficit: The fiscal deficit is estimated to be 5.9% of GDP.

4. Net Borrowings: To finance the fiscal deficit in 2023-24, net market borrowings from dated securities are estimated at 11.8 lakh crore.

5. Gross Borrowings: The gross market borrowings are estimated to be at 15.4 lakh crore.

Budget 2023 Key Announcements

The most noteworthy announcements in Budget 2023-24 are as follows:

1. Personal Income Tax: 6 Major Announcements for the Salaried Class

1. Rebate Limit of Personal Income Tax to be Increased to ₹7 lakh: As per the 2023 budget speech, if you earn less than 7 lakhs in a year, you don’t have to pay income tax. The twist here is that you will only be eligible for this exemption if you choose the new tax regime. Currently, people earning up to 5 lakh do not have to pay any income tax under both the old and new tax regimes. 

2. Income Tax Slabs Reduced: The tax structure in the new personal tax regime has been changed by reducing the number of slabs to 5 and increasing the tax exemption limit to ₹3 lakh.

Revised Tax Rates Applicable Only in the New Tax Regime

Income Tax Slab

Tax Rate for Individuals Below The Age of 60 Years

Up to ₹3 Lakh

NIL

3 – 6 Lakh

5%

6 – 9 Lakh

10%

9 -12 Lakh

15%

12 – 15 Lakh

20%

Above 15 Lakh

30%

Now, let us take a look at the income tax slabs for FY 2022-23 (AY 2023-24) under both the old tax regime and the new tax regime introduced in the year 2020. 

Old Income Tax Slab Rates for FY 2022-23 for Individuals Below 60 Years, NRIs and HUFs 

Income Tax Slabs

New Regime Tax Rates for FY 2022-23

Old Regime Tax Rates for FY 2022-23

Up to 2.5 lakh

Exempt

Exempt

2,50,001 to 5 lakh

5%

5%

5,00,001 to 7.5 lakh

10%

20%

7,50,001 to 10 lakh

15%

10,00,001 to 12.5 lakh

20%

30%

12,50,001 to 15 lakh

25%

Over ₹15 lakh

30%

3. Standard Deduction in the New Tax Regime: The benefit of standard deduction has been extended to the salaried class and the pensioners including family pensioners under the new tax regime. 

A salaried individual with an income of ₹15.5 lakh or more will get a standard deduction of ₹50,000 and a pensioner ₹15,000 as per the proposal.

4. Highest Surcharge for Income Above 2 Crore: The highest surcharge rate in personal income tax has been reduced from 37% to 25% in the new tax regime for individuals earning income above ₹2 crore. This would lead to a maximum tax rate of personal income tax coming down to 39% which was earlier 42.74%.

5. Leave Encashment Limit Increased: The limit of tax exemption on leave encashment on the retirement of non-government salaried employees has been increased from ₹3 lakh to ₹25 lakh.

6. New Tax Regime Made Default: The new income tax regime has been made the default tax regime. However, citizens will continue to be able to utilise the benefits of the old tax regime.

Other Direct Tax Proposals

1. The deduction availed from capital gains on investment in residential houses under sections 54 and 54F is to be capped at ₹10 crore for better targeting of tax concessions and exemptions.

2. There is a proposal to limit income tax exemption from proceeds of insurance policies with very high value. Where the aggregate premium for life insurance policies (other than ULIP) issued on or after 1st April 2023 is above ₹5 lakh, income from only those policies with aggregate premiums up to ₹5 lakh shall be tax-exempt.

3. The income of authorities, boards and commissions set up by statutes of the Union or State for the purpose of housing, development of cities, towns and villages, and regulating, or regulating and developing an activity or matter, are proposed to be exempted from income tax.

4. The minimum threshold of ₹10,000/- for TDS to be removed and taxability relating to online gaming will be clarified. There is a proposal to provide for TDS and taxability on net winnings at the time of withdrawal or at the end of the financial year.

5. The conversion of gold into electronic gold receipts and vice versa will not be treated as a capital gain.

6. The TDS rate is to be reduced from 30% to 20% on the taxable portion of EPF withdrawal in non-PAN cases.

 7. The income from Market Linked Debentures  will be taxed.

8. There will be a deployment of about 100 Joint Commissioners for the disposal of small appeals in order to reduce the pendency of appeals at the Commissioner level.

9. Increased selectivity in taking up appeal cases for scrutiny of returns already received this year.

10. The period of tax benefits to funds relocating to IFSC, GIFT City is extended till 31st of March 2025.

11. Certain acts of omission of liquidators under section 276A of the Income Tax Act to be decriminalised with effect from 1st April 2023.

12. Agniveer Fund will be provided with the EEE status. The payments received from the Agniveer Corpus Fund by the Agniveers enrolled in Agnipath Scheme, 2022 are proposed to be exempt from taxes. Deduction in the computation of total income is proposed to be allowed to the Agniveer on the contribution made by him or the Central Government to his Seva Nidhi account.

2. Micro, Small and Medium Enterprises (MSMEs) Are Clear Winners

1. Credit Guarantee Scheme to be Revamped: The revamped credit guarantee scheme for MSMEs will come into effect from the 1st of April 2023 through the infusion of ₹9,000 crore in the corpus. This revamped scheme will enable additional collateral-free guaranteed credit of ₹2 lakh crore for the MSMEs and also reduce the cost of the credit by about 1%.
2. Unified Skill India Digital Platform: A unified skill India digital platform will be launched for enabling demand-based formal skilling, linking with employers including MSMEs, and facilitating access to entrepreneurship schemes.
3. Timely Payments: To enable MSMEs to receive payments on time, the deduction for expenditure incurred on payments made to MSMEs will be allowed only when payment is actually made. The initiative will nudge buyers to immediately clear small businesses’ dues towards MSMEs. 
4. Entity Digilocker: Entity DigiLocker will be set up for use by MSMEs, large businesses and charitable trusts to store and share documents online securely, whenever needed, with various regulators, banks, authorities, and other business entities.
5. Presumptive Taxation for Micro Enterprises: The Budget proposed to enhance the limits for micro-enterprises and certain professionals for availing the benefit of presumptive taxation. The limits have now been increased to ₹3 crore and ₹75 lakh, respectively, for taxpayers with less than 5% cash receipts. The presumptive taxation scheme was previously available to micro-enterprises with a turnover of up to ₹2 crore and professionals with a turnover of up to ₹50 lakh.

6. Vivad se Vishwas Scheme: 95% of the forfeited amount relating to bid or performance security, will be returned to MSMEs by government and government undertakings in cases the MSMEs failed to execute contracts during the Covid period. This scheme is a voluntary initiative of the Government to peacefully resolve pending direct tax disputes with the taxpayer.

7. PM VIshwakarma KAushal Samman (PM VIKAS): An assistance package for traditional artisans and craftspeople, who work with their hands using tools has been conceptualised. The new scheme will enable them to improve their products’ quality, scale and reach, integrating them with the MSME value chain. 

The components of the scheme will include not only financial support but also access to advanced skill training, knowledge of modern digital techniques and efficient green technologies, brand promotion, linkage with local and global markets, digital payments, and social security.

Also Read: Government extends Emergency Credit Line Guarantee Scheme till March 31, 2022

3. Startups: Date of Incorporation Extended 

To help startups save their taxes, the date of incorporation will be extended from 31 March 2023 to 31st March 2024. The Government has proposed to provide the benefit of carrying forward losses on change of shareholding of start-ups from 7 years of incorporation to 10 years.

Start-ups 

Previous Limit

Revised Limit as per the new announcement made in Budget 2023

Date of Incorporation to Avail Income Tax Benefits 31st March 2023 31st March 2024
Benefit of Carry Forward of Losses on Change of Shareholding 7 Years from Incorporation 10 Years from 

Incorporation

4. Ease of Doing Business: Easing Compliances

For enhancing the ease of doing business, Government will remove more than 39,000 compliances and decriminalise more than 3,400 legal provisions 

The Finance minister added that for furthering the trust-based governance, the Government has introduced the Jan Vishwas Bill to amend 42 Central Acts.

5. 2023 Budget Provisions for the Cooperative Societies

1. The Benefit of Lower Tax Rates for New Co-Operatives: New co-operatives that commence their manufacturing activities till 31st March 2024 will get the benefit of a lower tax rate of 15%, similar to the one available to the new manufacturing companies.

2. Opportunity Provided to Sugar Co-Operatives: An opportunity will be provided to sugar cooperatives to claim payments made to sugarcane farmers for the period prior to the assessment year 2016-17 (AY 2016-17) as an expenditure. This is expected to provide them with a relief of almost 10,000 crore.

3. PACS and PCARDBs: A provision of a higher limit of ₹2 lakh per member for cash deposits to and loans in cash by Primary Agricultural Co-operative Societies (PACS) and Primary Co-operative Agriculture and Rural Development Banks (PCARDBs).

4. TDS on Cash Withdrawals: A higher limit of ₹3 crore for TDS on cash withdrawals is to be provided to cooperative societies.

6. Indirect Tax Proposals: Customs Duty 

The Finance Minister stressed simplification of the indirect tax structure to deliver:

1. Higher Imports

2. Higher Domestic Manufacturing 

3. More Value Addition in the Economy

4. Green Energy and Mobility

This would be done with fewer tax rates so as to reduce the compliance burden and improve tax administration.

Customs Duty Changes

1. The number of basic customs duty rates on goods, other than textiles and agriculture, reduced to 13 from 21.

2. Minor changes have been made in the basic customs duties, cesses and surcharges on some items including toys, bicycles, automobiles and naphtha.

3. Excise duty is exempted on GST-paid compressed biogas contained in blended compressed natural gas.

4. The customs duty on specified capital goods/machinery for the manufacture of the lithium-ion cells for use in batteries of EVs is extended to 31st March 2024. 

5. Customs duty is exempted on vehicles, specified automobile parts/components, sub-systems and tyres when imported by notified testing agencies, for the purpose of testing and/ or certification, subject to conditions.

6. Customs duty on the camera lens and its inputs/parts for use in the manufacture of the camera modules of cellular mobile phones is reduced to zero and concessional duty on lithium-ion cells for batteries is extended for another year.

7. Basic customs duty is reduced on parts of open cells of TV panels to 2.5%.

8. Basic customs duty on electric kitchen chimneys is increased to 15% from 7.5%.

9. Basic customs duty on heat coils for the manufacture of electric kitchen chimneys is reduced to 15% from 20%.

10. Denatured ethyl alcohol used in the chemical industry is exempted from basic customs duty.

11. The basic customs duty is reduced on acid grade fluorspar (containing by weight more than 97% of calcium fluoride) to 2.5% from 5%.

12. The basic customs duty on crude glycerin for use in the manufacture of epichlorohydrin is reduced to 2.5% from 7.5%.

13. The duty is reduced on key inputs for the domestic manufacture of shrimp feed.

14. Basic customs duty is reduced on seeds used in the manufacture of lab-grown diamonds.

15. The duties on articles made from dore and bars of gold and platinum are increased.

16. The import duty on silver dore, bars and articles are increased.

17. Basic customs duty exemption on raw materials for the manufacture of CRGO Steel, ferrous scrap and nickel cathode is being continued.

18. Concessional BCD of 2.5% on copper scrap will be continued.

19. Basic customs duty rate on compounded rubber is increased to 25% from 10% or 30 per kg whichever is lower.

20. National Calamity Contingent Duty (NCCD) on specified cigarettes is revised upwards by about 16%.

7. Capital Expenditure (CapEx) Gets a Big Boost

The capital expenditure (CapEx) is to be increased by 33% to 10 Lakh Crore when compared to the last year’s budget (2022-23). This is 3.3% of the GDP. The ratio of CAPEX to GDP for the year 2022-23 was 2.7%. 

The ‘Effective Capital Expenditure’ is budgeted at 13.7 lakh crore, which will be 4.5% of GDP.

8. Fiscal Deficit 

The 2023 budget estimated the fiscal deficit to be 5.9% of the GDP in FY 2023-24.  

The goal of the government is to attain a fiscal deficit target of below 4.5% of the GDP by the year 2025-26 which the finance minister said the government is on its way to achieving.

9. Infrastructure & Investments 

1. The Finance Minister informed that the Government has decided to continue the 50-year interest-free loan to state governments for 1 more year to spur investment in infrastructure and to incentivize them for complementary policy actions, with a significantly enhanced outlay of ₹1.3 lakh crore.

2. ₹2.40 Lakh Crore will be provided to the Railways as the highest-ever capital outlay. 

3. 50 additional airports, helipads, water aero drones, and advanced landing grounds will be revived to improve regional air connectivity. 

4. 100 transport infrastructure projects, for last and first-mile connectivity for ports, coal, steel, fertiliser and food grains sectors, have been identified and they will be taken up on priority with an investment of ₹75,000 crore, including ₹15,000 crore from private sources.

5. An Urban Infrastructure Development Fund (UIDF) of ₹10,000 crore per annum will be established through the use of priority sector lending shortfall, which will be managed by the National Housing Bank, and will be used by public agencies to create urban infrastructure in Tier 2 and Tier 3 cities. 

10. Budget Allocations For the Backward, Vulnerable People & Remote Regions 

1. Building on the success of the Aspirational Districts Programme, the Government has recently launched the Aspirational Blocks Programme covering 500 blocks for saturation of essential government services across multiple domains such as health, nutrition, education, agriculture, water resources, financial inclusion, skill development, and basic infrastructure.

2. To improve the socio-economic conditions of the particularly vulnerable tribal groups (PVTGs), Pradhan Mantri PVTG Development Mission will be launched. An amount of  ₹15,000 crore will be made available to implement the Mission in the next three years under the Development Action Plan for the Scheduled Tribes. 

Smt.  Sitharaman announced that in the next three years, the centre will recruit 38,800 teachers and support staff for the 740 Eklavya Model Residential Schools, serving 3.5 lakh tribal students.

3. In the drought-prone central region of Karnataka, central assistance of ₹5,300 crore will be given to the Upper Bhadra Project to provide sustainable micro irrigation and filling up of surface tanks for drinking water.

4. The Finance Minister said that the outlay for PM Awas Yojana is being enhanced by 66% to over ₹79,000 crore.

11. Agriculture: Centre of Excellence for Millets

1. Digital Public infrastructure for agriculture will be built as an open source, open standard and interoperable public good. 

2. An Agriculture Accelerator Fund will be set up to encourage agri-startups by young entrepreneurs in rural areas, which will aim at bringing innovative and affordable solutions for challenges faced by farmers.

3. Government will adopt a cluster-based and value chain approach through Public Private Partnerships (PPP) To enhance the productivity of extra-long staple cotton.

4. Government will launch an Atma Nirbhar Clean Plant Programme to boost the availability of disease-free, quality planting material for high-value horticultural crops at an outlay of  ₹2,200 crore.

5. To make India a global hub for ‘Shree Anna’ (Millets), the Indian Institute of Millet Research, Hyderabad will be supported as the Centre of Excellence for sharing best practices, research and technologies at the international level.

6. The agriculture credit target will be increased to ₹20 lakh crore with a focus on animal husbandry, dairy and fisheries. The Government will launch a new sub-scheme of PM Matsya Sampada Yojana with a targeted investment of  ₹6,000 crore to further enable activities of fishermen, fish vendors, and micro & small enterprises, improve value chain efficiencies and expand the market.

7. To realise this vision of promoting a cooperative-based economic development model, the government has already initiated the computerisation of 63,000 Primary Agricultural Credit Societies (PACS) with an investment of ₹2,516 crore.

8. Government will implement a plan to set up massive decentralised storage capacity, which will help farmers store their produce and realise remunerative prices through sales at appropriate times. 

9. The Finance Minister announced that over the next 3 years, the Centre will facilitate one crore farmers to adopt natural farming. For this, 10,000 Bio-Input Resource Centres will be set up, creating a national-level distributed micro-fertilizer and pesticide manufacturing network.

12. Health and Education 

1. 157 new nursing colleges are to be set up.

2. Government to launch a mission to eliminate Sickle Cell Anaemia by 2047. 

3. A National Digital Library for Children and Adolescents will be set up. States will be encouraged to set up physical libraries for them at panchayat and ward levels and provide infrastructure for accessing the National Digital Library resources.

4. More teachers to be recruited for 740 Eklavya Model Residential Schools. 

5. A new programme to promote research and innovation in pharmaceuticals will be developed through centres of excellence.

6. Pradhan Mantri Kaushal Vikas Yojana 4.0 will be launched to skill lakhs of youth within the next three years. The scheme will also cover new-age courses for Industry 4.0 like coding, AI, robotics, mechatronics, IOT, 3D printing, drones, and soft skills.

7. She also announced that to skill the youth for international opportunities, 30 Skill India International Centres will be set up across different States. 

8. Smt. Nirmala Sitharaman said that to provide stipend support to 47 lakh youth in three years, Direct Benefit Transfer under a pan-India National Apprenticeship Promotion Scheme will be rolled out.

13. Tourism: Unity Mall in State Capitals

1. At least 50 tourist destinations are to be developed as a complete package for domestic and foreign tourists.

2. The FM said that States will be encouraged to set up a Unity Mall in their state capital or most prominent tourism centre or the financial capital for the promotion and sale of their own ODOPs (one district, one product), GI products and other handicraft products, and for providing space for such products of all other States.

14. Green Initiatives: ₹35,000 Crores Allotted

1. An outlay of ₹19,700 crore is made for the recently launched National Gren Hydrogen Mission. The target is to reach an annual production of 5 MMT by 2030.

2. ₹35,000 crores are allotted for the priority capital investment towards energy transition, net zero objectives, and energy security by the Ministry of Petroleum & Natural Gas.

3. Funds allocated to scrap old vehicles of the Central Government. States will also be supported in replacing old vehicles and outdated ambulances.

4. Government has given a vision for “LiFE”, or Lifestyle for Environment, to spur a movement toward an environmentally conscious lifestyle. To usher in a green industrial and economic transition, the Indian government is steadily moving forward toward the ‘panchamrit’ and net-zero carbon emission by 2070.

5. To steer the economy on the sustainable development path, Battery Energy Storage Systems with a capacity of 4,000 MWH will be supported with Viability Gap Funding.

6. Interstate transmission system for evacuation and grid integration of 13 GW of renewable energy from Ladakh will be constructed with an investment of  ₹20,700 crore including central support of ₹8,300 crore.

7. FM announced that 500 new ‘waste to wealth’ plants under GOBARdhan (Galvanizing Organic Bio-Agro Resources Dhan) scheme will be established for promoting a circular economy. These will include 200 compressed biogas (CBG) plants, including 75 plants in urban areas, and 300 community or cluster-based plants at a total investment of  Rs 10,000 crore.

15. Centres of Excellence to be Promoted for Artificial Intelligence

The Finance Minister said that to realise the vision of “Make A-I in India and Make A-I work for India”, three centres of excellence for Artificial Intelligence will be set up in top educational institutions. 

Leading industry players will partner in conducting interdisciplinary research, and develop cutting-edge applications and scalable problem solutions in the areas of agriculture, health, and sustainable cities, which will galvanise an effective A-I ecosystem and nurture quality human resources in the field.

Also Read: GST Council Meet: Tax concessions on Medicines, No Decision on Petrol and Diesel

7 Priorities of this 2023 Union Budget (SAPTRISHI)

The Finance Minister said that our vision for the Amrit Kaal includes a technology-driven and knowledge-based economy with strong public finances, and a robust financial sector. 

She also listed 7 priorities of the union budget that will act as Saptrishi, guiding us through the Amrit Kaal. 

These are explained below:

Image courtesy: Budget website

1. Inclusive Development 

Image courtesy: Budget Website

Image courtesy: PIB Website

Image courtesy: PIB Website

2. Reaching the Last Mile 

Image courtesy: PIB Website

3. Infrastructure and Investment 

Image courtesy: PIB Website

4. Unleashing the Potential 

Image courtesy: PIB Website

5. Green Growth 

Image courtesy: PIB Website

6. Youth Power 

 

Image courtesy: PIB Website

Image courtesy: PIB Website

7. Financial Sector

Image courtesy: PIB Website

Image courtesy: PIB Website

Image courtesy: PIB Website

Also Read: NFRA proposes to exempt compulsory statutory audit for MSMEs

Conclusion 

The union budget 2023 has proved itself to be useful for salaried individuals who earn less than 7 lakh as they would get a tax rebate resulting in zero income tax. By making the new tax regime the default one, it can be deduced that gradually the Government intends to transition the taxpayers towards the new tax regime. 

The Government has also made efforts towards easing multiple compliances and decriminalising many in order to increase the ease of doing business in India. CapEx has been increased by 33% to further the development of infrastructure to facilitate growth and development. 

Some sectors of the economy have gained while others, not so much. 

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