When the Indian economy was attempting to heal from the economic slowdown, the COVID-19 induced lockdown brought the economy to a standstill. In wake of the turmoil there is eager wait for the Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman on 1st February 2020 as she tables the budget for the next fiscal year in the Lok Sabha.
The country is holding out high hopes for the first budget after immediately after the coronavirus pandemic hit forcing the suspension of all economic activity. The GDP contracted for the very first time in a while. There would be an acute recession and severe unemployment levels impending the nation.
With all sections of society in the Indian economy patiently waiting to see if their issues are brought to light in the union budget 2021, the FM has a challenging assignment on her table. Maybe not for the first time but the Budget 2021-22 faces major hurdles to do a tough balancing act to revive growth in the economy during declining revenue streams and need to balance expenditure and come back on the path of fiscal consolidation. The Finance Minister herself said that her third budget would be “unprecedented” as the country looks to renovate after coronavirus in 2020.
Schedule of budget 2021
The Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman will present the budget –
DATE: 1st February 2021
TIME: 11 AM
Before the budget session, India’s chief economic advisor, Krishnamurthy Subramanian presented the economic survey on Friday.
This is FM Sitharaman’s third budget under the government led by Prime Minister Narendra Modi. When the Modi government came into power, it was decided that the union budget would be presented on the first working day of February instead of the last working day of February, which will mean the budget sessions have been brought forward by a month.
The tradition has continued till date through all the government’s subsequent budgets. The advancing of the date of the union budget was to ensure that the budgeting process starts in February will be completed before the end of March and the spending exercise for the next fiscal year could start on April 1.
Where to watch the budget session 2021 live?
Here are couple of channels where you can watch the budget session 2020 live at 11 o’clock in the morning on Monday, February 1, 2020: Lok Sabha television, Lok Sabha live webcast.
The upcoming budget scheduled for February 1 will be paperless due the extreme circumstances of COVID-19. The Finance Ministry has decided not to print the budget documents during the pandemic. This is of historic value as it will be for the first time in the history of independent India that the budget papers will not be printed.
For the first time, there has been no lockdown in the finance ministry before the Budget presentation as the paperless exercise avoids the need for secrecy associated with printed documents. Normally, when the printing starts, printing staffers stay inside the press until the budget presentation. A few high-ranked officials are allowed access on the basis of a special identity card. The special security forces man the entire facility, loading-unloading and transportation.
This is not the first time that there would be unconventionality in the presentation of the budget under Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman. Last year, she used a colonial-era tradition of carrying Budget papers in a briefcase and introduced the Budget ‘Bahi Khata’ or a ledger, confined in a red cloth folder and tied with a string.