HindustanTimes Thu,02 Oct 2014

Firmly in saddle, Jaitley now braces for budget

HT Correspondent, Hindustan Times  New Delhi, May 31, 2014
First Published: 00:18 IST(31/5/2014) | Last Updated: 00:20 IST(31/5/2014)

Finance minister Arun Jaitley will set in motion from Monday the process of preparing Narendra Modi government’s first general budget. The document is closely awaited by a country that lapped up Modi’s poll slogan — “acche din aane wale hai” — to vote a BJP government to power in the Centre, like never before.

“Jaitley will start meeting all stakeholders from Monday to prepare a budget that lives up to the hopes of countrymen,” finance ministry sources told Hindustan Times.

The budget will be presented in July after the Parliament session resumes after a break of nearly 15-20 days.

A couple of business leaders have already met the finance minister, expecting that the budget would bring the economy back on the track.

"The last government left the economy bleeding with certain populist schemes. The budget may try to balance out between populism and economics," ministry sources said.

A lawyer by profession who has been given the charge of two crucial ministries — defence and finance — Jaitley is shuttling between the two, clocking extra 5-6 hours every day to keep pace with the requirement of the two wings of the government.

He reaches finance ministry’s North Block office by 9 in the morning and leaves for the defence ministry in South Block around 1pm. Furthermore, he is back in the finance ministry to hold meetings with officials and works very late in the evening.

“With pre-budget discussions to start from Monday, he will need to put in a couple of hours more,” a senior finance ministry official said.

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