Nirmala Sitharaman delivers longest Budget speech

  • A Kashmiri verse, quotes from Tamil poets and references to Saraswati-Sindhu civilisation dotted Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman’s 160-minutelong marathon Budget speech.
  • The longest Union Budget speech ever, some of her remarks, includingregarding BetiBachao, BetiPadao’programme, were met with protestsfrom the Opposition benches.
  • Her first Budget speech, in July 2019, went on for around 137 minutes.Agriculture Highlights: 
    • Kisan Rail and Krishi Udan:The initiatives have been launched to facilitate smooth and fast transport of perishable goods to assist the farmers.
    • Solar Pumps: The Government will also help 20 lakh farmers to set up standalone solar pumps.


    Education Highlights: 

    • Funds: The Government has announced allocationof 99,000croresfor the education sector.
    • New Universities:The government will be setting up National Police University and National Forensic University.
    • IND-SAT test:The government has also proposed to set up IND-SATtest for foreign students wishing to pursue higher education in India.


    Tourism Highlights:

    • Five archaeological siteswill be developed as iconic sites with on-sitemuseums in 5 different states.
    • The sites include – Rakhigarhiin Haryana, Hastinapur in Up, Shivsagar in Assam, Dholavira in Gujarat and Adichanallur in Tamil Nadu.


    MSME & Corporate Sector

    • The budget proposes a new scheme for MSMEs in the context of subordinate debt.
    • The debt recast window of MSME is extended by one year to March 31,2021.
    • Certain categories of government securities will now be opened for Non-Resident Investors.
    • The FPI Limit in Corporate bond has increased to 15%.



    Indian Railways

    • Electrification of around 27000 km of railway lines achieved within 100 days of Modi Government formation in 2019.
    • A large solar power capacity proposed for the Indian Railways. It will be built along the rail track on the Railways owned lands.
    • Bengaluru Suburban Rail Project proposed; budget allocates Rs 18,600 crore for this project.
    • By 2024, the Government would monetize 12 lots of national highways.
    • With the help of UDAN scheme, 100 airports will be built by 2024.
    • The fleet of Aircraft will be increased to 1200 planes by 2024.
    • Rs 1.7 lakh crore allocated for transport infrastructure.


    Energy Sector

    • Prepaid Smart Meters: States will have to replace existing energy meters withthe prepaid smart meters.
    • Budget allocates Rs 22,000 crore for the Power and Renewable EnergySector.
    • The national gas grid will be expanded from 16200 km to 27000 km.
    • A new policy will be launched for the construction of data centre parks by theprivate sector.
    • Bharat Net to link 1 lakh gram panchayats through Fibre to Homeconnections.
    • Budget allocates Rs 6000 crore for the Bharat Net programme.
    • It provides Rs.8,000 crore in the next 5 years for “National Mission onQuantum Technology and Applications”.



    Women Empowerment

    • ‘BetiBachao, BetiPadhao’:Enrollment of girls in schools is higher thanthe boys.
    • 35,600 crores will be provided for nutrition-related programmes.
    • Task Force will be constituted to look into the issue of girls of low age entering motherhood.
    • It allocates Rs. 85,000 crores for development of SCs and OBCs.
    • It allocates Rs. 53,700 crores for STs development.
    • It allocates Rs.9,000 crores for Senior citizens and persons with disabilities.


    Art & Culture

    • The government will constitute “Indian Institute of Heritage andConservation” as a deemed university.
    • 5 archaeological sites to be developed as top-notch sites; these sites are: Rakhigarhi – Haryana, Hastinapur – Uttar Pradesh, Sivasagar – Assam, Dholavira – Gujarat, Adichanallur – Tamil Nadu.
    • The government will build a Tribal Museum in Ranchi.
    • The budget allocates Rs. 3150 crores for the Ministry of Culture.



    • The Coalition for Disaster Resilient Infrastructure will be implemented from January 2021.
    • It allocates Rs. 4,400 crores to promote clean air in cities with a populationof over 1 million people.
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