The finance minister Nirmal Sitharaman on Wednesday concluded all the pre-budget consultations for the 2021-2022 Union Budget. 9 stakeholder groups and 170 invitees participated in the 15 meetings held between December 14 to December 23rd, 2020 online.
The Finance minister of India held a meeting with the sector experts related to infrastructure, energy, and climate change to sought suggestions regarding the upcoming budget. According to her recent statement, the upcoming budget will be completely different. The Union Budget for 2021-2022 will be presented under the shadow of the Covid-19 pandemic. The budget for the financial year 2021-2022 will be presented in the parliament on February 1, 2021.
The FY22 budget will focus mainly on the infrastructure, which is considered one of the most important parameters of growth. Many economists have predicted that the Indian economy will shrink by 7% to 9% in 2020-21. The finance ministry expects marginal growth in the economy from the December quarter. The Indian economy is also expected to bounce back in double digits on a low base.
Apart from the Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman, Union Minister of State for Finance and Corporate Affairs Anurag Singh Thakur, DIPAM Secretary Tuhin Kanta Pandey, Finance Secretary AB Pandey, Expenditure Secretary TV Somanathan, Chief Economic Advisor Krishnamurthy Subramanian, DEA Secretary Tarun Bajaj, and senior officers from the Ministry of Finance and other ministries also took part in the meeting.
Sitharaman had chaired all the pre-budget meetings that were held online with multiple stakeholders, industrialists, economists, and farmer bodies, etc. for their inputs and suggestions on how to revive the economy that has been severely affected by the coronavirus pandemic.
The stakeholder groups made multiple suggestions on various subjects that included Fiscal Policy (including taxation), Insurance, Bond Markets, Health & Education, Exports, Infrastructure Spending, Social Protection, Water Harvesting & Conservation, MGNREGA, Public Distribution System, Production-linked Investment Scheme, Ease of Doing Business, Branding of Made in India products, Public Sector Delivery Mechanisms, Innovation, Green Growth, and Non-Polluting sources of Energy and Vehicles, among others.
The stakeholders' groups included representatives of the Health, Financial and Capital Markets, Education and Rural Development, Trade Unions and Labour Organisations, Water and Sanitation, Industry, and Trade, Services, Infrastructure Agriculture, Energy, and Climate Change sector, and Industrialists, Agro-Processing Industry, and Economists.
The Finance Ministry also said “the participants in the meeting lauded the efforts taken by the Indian government to flatten the COVID-19 curve a slow but strong recovery of the economy in the second quarter of 2020-21. They further stated that India is among very few countries whose economic activity has risen with declining pandemic induced fatalities".