Change point

From taxation of crypto currency to the introduction of a mental health programme...Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman’s much-anticipated Budget 2022 has been quite a head-turner.
Illustration: Soumyadip Sinha
Illustration: Soumyadip Sinha

BENGALURU: I really welcome the government’s decision to introduce the central bank digital currency (CBDC) to accelerate digitisation. I also believe that various budget measures to improve digital payment adoption will include more digital-savvy Indians into the financial ecosystem. The budget provides clarity on taxation and shows the government’s intent to take a business-friendly approach while protecting the interest of consumers and the exchequer. – Ashish Singhal, founder and CEO, CoinSwitch and co-chair Blockchain and Crypto Assets Council (BACC)

The government has recognised the mental health crisis, exacerbated by the ongoing pandemic, in the Union Budget. The setting up of a national tele mental health programme is a welcome move, and will go a long way in helping people of all ages access quality mental health. Today, having a platform where people can voice their concerns freely and safely is the first step towards mental wellness.
I am confident that with this, India will be able to bring about a much-needed change in society. – Neerja Birla, founder and chairperson, Mpower

Mental health is a universal issue which is affecting all age groups. It may be due to work from home, lack of social life, or isolation. Opening up about mental health was a taboo in India, and it’s only now that people are bringing it to mainstream discussions. But the government taking notice of this issue and setting up tele-mental health centres is a very important decision. I am sure it will benefit all kinds of people, irrespective of financial backgrounds. This is just the beginning. – Pranitha Subhash, actor

The government is keen to strengthen the Commonwealth Games and the Asian Games, so they have given the biggest boost to sports this year, up by `300 crore from last year. There is emphasis on the upcoming Khelo India events, but also on reviving sports institutions and programmes from the pandemic. The last couple of years has been quite demoralising for sportspersons. I hope consistent sports outreach initiatives can help them bounce back. – Ashwini Nachappa, former track and field athlete

The restaurant industry was eagerly looking at some immediate liquidity support, restoration of the input tax credit on GST, ease of doing business for the survival and revival of the sector. Although there was a mention of the extension of the Emergency Credit Line Guarantee Scheme (ECLGS) till March 2023, it was very disappointing to see that no specific announcements were made for the restaurant industry and we are yet again left to fend for ourselves. – Mukesh Tolani, President, NRAI, Bengaluru Chapter

From a personal finance perspective, the big announcements were the policy over taxation of digital virtual currency, crypto currencies and tokens of any kind. These are going to be taxed at 30 per cent.
It is good to see a clear policy on taxation of digital currencies. There are really not too many changes for individual investors, except about filing of revised ITR for a period of two years.The one miss for the salaried class in the private sector is the contribution towards the National Pension System (NPS), which remains at 10 per cent. For state government employees, this has been hiked to 14 per cent which is on par with central government employees. – Mrin Agarwal, founder, Finsafe

I am personally very excited about digital learning. As an educationist and as part of the FICCI FLO Bangalore chapter, we have been working on such initiatives. From learning English to getting hands-on experience in computer literacy programmes, there is a need for quality e-content in different languages. Rural India is eager to tap the digital technologies that are now available. While the virtual and televised learning model is essential, the government can lay out a comprehensive plan as to how to balance offline and online classes during these uncertain times. – Revathi Raju, educationist

The Union Budget 2022 is a welcome acknowledgement of the role technology plays in facilitating trusted transactions. We welcome the support to the nascent fintech sector, which can expand access to better methods of saving, spending, and investing for a large part of India. In addition, promoting animation, gaming, and newer sectors will create opportunities for creative and technical talent across the country. Overall provisions like the extension of the startup tax holiday scheme till March 31, 2023 will help the startup ecosystem grow across sectors. – Kunal Shah, founder, CRED

There are many countries which have adopted e-passports. With a digital chip in place, the immigration process will get faster. But what we need to know is the the process behind it, and how the transition is going to happen. – Lakshmi Sharath, travel blogger

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