Nirmala Sitaraman used a tablet to read out the 2021 budget instead of the conventional “Bahi Khaata,” indicating that technology is now a massive part of our everyday lives, even more so thanks to the coronavirus pandemic.
Keeping in mind the Covid-19, slow growth and a startup boom in India, the Finance minister made sure that the 2021 Union Budget catered to most pressing issues of modern times.
During the Union Budget 2021, Nirmala Sitaraman proposed constructing a Fin-Tech hub in GIFT City in Gandhinagar, Gujarat. She also proposed a national Hydrogen Energy Mission to generate hydrogen from green power sources.
Specifically for tech and startups, she also introduced several new schemes and proposals. Starting with a changed definition of small companies from Rs 50 lakh to Rs 2 crores and turnover from Rs 2 crores to 20 crores.
She also said that India now has the capabilities to export smartphones and other equipment to international markets during her speech. She also hinted at the phenomenal growth of production of domestic appliances.
According to sources the Govt also plan to introduce a Cryptocurrency bill that seeks to ban all forms of private cryptocurrency but aims to promote the underlying blockchain technology. Additionally, RBI wants to introduce a digital version of the Indian currency, similar to how China recently produced a digital Yuan.
One of the main aims of the Govt is to promote domestic production. Nirmala Sitaraman, in the same tune, said: “for greater domestic value addition we are withdrawing a few exemptions on the part of chargers and sub-parts of mobiles.” Further some parts of mobiles will move from nil rate to a moderate 2.5%, she concluded.
Other tech and startup related proposals in the union budget include:
– A world-class fintech hub in GIFT city, Gandhinagar.
– Strengthening of NCLT framework and implementation of e-courts.
– Integration of more than 1000 more mandis with electronic national market
– Allocation of Rs. 3.768 crore for India’s first-ever digital census.
– Distribution of Rs. 15,700 crore to MSME sector has more than doubled since last year.
In a much-appreciated move, the Indian Government is also seeking to collect relevant information on gig workers and construction workers to extend a framework for their benefit.
Lastly, keeping in mind the pandemic, FM allocated Rs. 35,000 crore for Covid vaccines. Overall, from a technology perspective, the 2021 Union Budget seeks to strengthen domestic manufacturing and export capabilities whilst ensuring that Indian startups get much-needed support in their growth.