The Union Budget for 2020 will be presented on February 1, PTI reported on Wednesday, citing unidentified officials.
The Budget Session of Parliament will be held in two phases from January 31 to April 3, according to recommendations by the Cabinet Committee on Parliamentary Affairs. The first phase of the session will be from January 31 to February 11 and the second phase from March 2 to April 3.
From 2017, the Centre brought the Budget forward to February 1. It had also merged the railway budget with the Union Budget. As per tradition, the Budget will be presented by the finance minister, Nirmala Sitharaman.
Budget 2020 will come amid an economic slowdown. The Indian economy is expected to grow 5% in the 2019-’20 financial year compared to 6.8% last year, the National Statistical Office said in the first advance estimates released on Tuesday. If this bears out, it will be the slowest annual growth in Gross Domestic Product since 2008-’09. Weakening consumption and stagnating private investment are believed to be the reasons behind the economic slowdown.
Last month, the Reserve Bank of India had also lowered its projection for the economic growth rate to 5% for 2019-’20, just two months after it had forecast a 6.1% growth rate. The central bank cited weak domestic and external demand as a reason for the downward projection.
The latest projections are bad news for investors, and come at a time when the Indian economy is faltering. Figures released in November showed that GDP growth slumped to a six-year low the month before , while industrial output contracted. In November, the output of eight core infrastructure industries declined 1.5% – the fourth straight month of a contraction – compared to November 2018.
In the last few months, core sectors such as automobiles and manufacturing have slowed down because of weakened consumer demand and dearth of investments.