With 'budget like never before', finance minister Nirmala Sitharaman will aim to strengthen economic revival
Finance minister Nirmala Sitharaman will present the Union budget on Monday - her third so far - at a time when the country's economy is recovering from the impact of the coronavirus disease (Covid-19) pandemic. After a series of economic packages and relief measures announced by the government last year, Sitharaman is left with limited fiscal room.
There is still the need to spend big to aid economic recovery and investors will be keenly watching how the finance minister makes that happen. With Sitharaman saying it will "be a budget like never before", expectations are already high.
“There are expectations that the government will keep aside fiscal prudence and open its pockets to spend more,” said Ajit Mishra, vice president of research at Mumbai-based Religare Broking Ltd, told Bloomberg.
The Budget presentation will begin with a speech from finance minister in Parliament which is scheduled to take place at around 11 am. Before that, the Union Cabinet will hold a meeting at 10:15 am.
This year, the Union Budget will be delivered in paperless form for the first time.
The budget is expected to revolve around the philosophy of “growth with a human touch”, people aware of the development said. It could focus on raising farmers' income, generating jobs for the young, improving healthcare standards, ease of compliance for citizens and business, big infrastructure projects, continued support to MSMEs and a push to make India self-reliant to become a key player in the global supply chain.
The budget, however, is not expected to carry any major exemption on taxation because of a resource crunch, or an overhaul of taxation system like the previous budget.
Prime Minister Narendra Modi has already said the budget will be in continuation of government efforts to revive sectors impacted by the coronavirus disease (Covid-19) pandemic, which has hit all economic activities and led to millions of job losses mainly in small businesses.
However, the launch of a nationwide Covid-19 vaccination programme with two Made-in-India vaccines has given some relief to investors.
The presentation of the budget comes a day after the government announced an all-time high Goods and Services (GST) collection of ₹1.20 lakh crore. The GST collection exceeded the ₹1 lakh crore benchmark for the fourth consecutive month and posted positive growth for the fifth month in a row since September, indicating sustained business recovery.
In a digital push, Sitharaman had recently launched the "Union Budget Mobile App" to give a hassle-free access to Budget documents to Members of Parliament (MPs) and the general public.
On Friday, the government had tabled the Economic Survey tabled in Parliament. The Indian economy can contract by 7.7 per cent in the current financial year ending on March 31 and the growth could be 11 per cent in the next financial year, according to the survey.
Watch: Finance minister Nirmala Sitharaman with team ahead of Budget 2021
The first part of the Budget Session is scheduled to continue till February 15 while the second part of the session will be held from March 8 to April 8. Rajya Sabha will function from 9 am to 2 pm and Lok Sabha from 4 pm to 9 pm with Zero Hour and Question Hour.