India's first Budget amid Covid-19 pandemic to be presented on Monday
Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman with Minister of State for Finance Anurag Thakur leaving for Parliament to present the 2021-22 Union Budget, in New Delhi on February 1, 2021. Qamar Sibtain/IANS

India's first Budget amid Covid-19 pandemic to be presented on Monday

New Delhi, February 1, 2021

India's first Budget post the onset of Covid-19 pandemic will be presented to Parliament on Monday.

Accordingly, Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman will present her third and most significant Finance Bill to Parliament.

This year's Budget assumes significance as the Centre has to play a balancing act between inducing fiscal expansion, giving demand stimulus and maintaining the deficit under control.

Speculation is rife on demand generating stimulus packages, urban employment scheme and a Covid cess that might be announced.

The Budget may also have measures for the agriculture and rural sectors and for the MSME segment that hold the key to propping up economic activities.

The Budget comes at a time when India has been battling with the coronavirus or Covid-19 pandemic and the economy is reeling under the effects of the lockdown.

Sitharaman will present the Budget at 11 a.m. in the Lok Sabha. The Budget is in a series of three-four mini Budgets presented during last year considering the pandemic. This would be Sitharaman's third Budget under the National Democratic Alliance (NDA) government led by Prime Minister Narendra Modi.

Breaking the tradition, this year's Budget will be unique as it will be paperless.

At the beginning of the joint session of Parliament on Friday, Modi had also said that the Finance Minister had already announced 3-4 mini budgets and that the 2021-22 Budget would be a historic one.

After an estimated 7.7 per cent contraction in 2020-21, the Economic Survey presented by Sitharaman on Friday has projected that India's real GDP would record a growth of 11 per cent in 2021-22. The nominal GDP growth has been estimated at 15.4 per cent, implying an assumption of 4.4 per cent inflation during the year.

Sitharaman had then asserted that this year's Budget will "be a Budget like never before."

It is expected that the Budget will help in revival by various sectors like agriculture, infrastructure, healthcare, rural economy and MSME that faced the worst impact of the Covid-19 pandemic and lockdown restrictions.


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