Union Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman will present the Budget in Parliament today at 11 am (IST). All eyes are on Sitharaman’s Budget speech, which will be one of the most crucial budgets in the history of the Indian Government.
The ninth consecutive annual budget presented before India by the Narendra Modi-led NDA government comes at a time when the nation is facing a once-in-a-lifetime health crisis in the wake of the novel coronavirus pandemic.
With a vaccine against the killer virus bringing in new hope and elevating the country’s position across the globe, a sound budget by FM Sitharaman could very well drive the government’s battered finances and ensuring a recovery in demand.
This year’s Budget, which FM Sitharaman had said will “be a Budget like never before”, will be unique as it will be completely paperless, in a significant break from tradition, due to the coronavirus pandemic.
This is the first time since independence that budget papers will not be printed, so as to reduce the possibility of social interaction and maintain physical distancing norms.
The decision has been taken as nearly 100 people would be required to stay at the printing press for around a fortnight amid the Covid-19 pandemic fear.
FM Sitharaman has also launched the “Union Budget Mobile App” for hassle-free access of Budget-related documents by Members of Parliament (MPs) and the public.
Meanwhile, India’s gross domestic product (GDP) contracted by 23.9% in the first quarter of the financial year and as per the World Bank, the economy is estimated to contract by 9.6% in FY21, reflecting a sharp drop in household spending and private investment.
However, the World Bank projected economic growth to recover to 5.4% this year.
It is important to note that the country’s economy found itself caught up in a recessionary phase owing to the Covid-19 pandemic and the subsequent nationwide lockdown.
The Union Budget 2021 can be downloaded from the Government of India’s official website www.indiabudget.gov.in after the Budget will be tabled in the Parliament today.
The first part of the budget session will continue till 15 February. The second part of the session will be held from 8 March to 8 April.