Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman will present the Union Budget for 2020-’21 in the Lok Sabha at 11 am on Saturday. The Budget comes amid a rapid economic slowdown, rising unemployment, widening fiscal deficit and an increase in retail inflation.
A day before the Budget, Sitharaman tabled the Economic Survey for 2020-’21 in the Parliament on Friday afternoon. The survey predicted that Gross Domestic Product will grow between 6% and 6.5% during the next financial year, as opposed to an estimated 5% in 2019-’20. It also projected industrial growth at 2.5% but added that there was a chance of a widening of the fiscal deficit.
The finance minister had presented a full budget in July last year, after the 2019 General Elections. However, the government, alarmed by the economic slowdown, announced a series of corrective measures in September. This included the cutting of corporate tax rate for domestic firms from 35% to 22%, merging 10 public sector banks into four, announcing an outlay of Rs 102 lakh crore for infrastructure, creating a special window for stalled infrastructure projects and other steps.
The Budget Session of Parliament, which began on Friday, will continue till February 11. The second phase of the session will be held from March 2 to April 3. On Friday, the session began with an address by President Ram Nath Kovind, in which he hailed the government’s Citizenship Amendment Act and asserted that the fundamentals of the economy remain strong.