Business / Finance ministry holds last leg of pre-budget meets

The New Indian Express : Jun 10, 2019, 11:38 AM

With less than a month left for presentation of her maiden Budget, Union Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman is going to dedicate two weeks purely for Budget consultations. A series of meetings are lined up with economists, industry chambers, banks and non-banking financial companies (NBFCs).

“At least 12-13 meetings are lined up from next week onwards. Starting with the Prime Minister’s Economic Advisory Council (PMEAC) and leading economists, the minister will have separate meeting with industry chambers, bankers and NBFCs,” a senior finance ministry official told this publication. 

For Sitharaman, who took charge as the new finance minister on the day when Gross Domestic Product (GDP) slowed down below 6 per cent and unemployment numbers hit 45 years low, the Budget is not going to be a cakewalk.

Slowing economy, job creation, boosting private investment and the liquidity crisis are some of the areas of concerns where the industry is expecting major policy decisions and future roadmap from Sitharaman, who will be presenting the first Budget of the Modi 2.0 government. 

Revenue secretary Ajay Bhushan Pandey has already held one round of discussions with industry chambers on their budget expectations, in which they demanded across-the-board reduction in corporate tax rate and abolishing Minimum Alternate Tax (MAT). Boosting employment and strong policy reforms were the common demand from the industry.

The first session of the newly-elected 17th Lok Sabha will be held from June 17 to July 26 this year and the full Budget for the financial year 2019-20 would be presented on July 5.

Sitharaman will also have a separate meeting with sectors that require immediate attention, including telecom, civil aviation and agriculture.

The government has already sought inputs from citizens on the Union Budget 2019-20 on its portal mygov.in portal by June 20. The Finance Minister also, in a Twitter post last week, had invited suggestions on the Budget. Also, a separate request for suggestions had been communicated to the state finance ministers, whom she will be meeting during the GST Council meeting, which is likely to happen on June 20.

North Block in New Delhi, which houses the Ministry of Finance, will be “quarantined” or kept out of bounds for visitors and media from Monday, where the Budget team, including chief economic advisor Krishnamurthy Subramanian, finance secretary Subhash Chandra Garg, expenditure secretary Girish Chandra Murmu, revenue secretary Ajay Bhushan Pandey, DIPAM secretary Atanu Chakraborty and financial services secretary Rajiv Kumar will be working to give final shape to the Budget.

Work in progress

The first session of the newly-elected 17th Lok Sabha will be held from June 17 to July 26  and the full Budget for the financial year 2019-20 would  be presented on July 5.

North Block in New Delhi, which houses the Ministry of Finance, will be “quarantined” or kept out of bounds for visitors and media from Monday, as experts give final shape to the Budget.

Union Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman is going to dedicate two weeks purely for Budget consultations with economists, industry chambers, banks and non-banking financial companies.

At least 12-13 meetings are lined up from next week. The government has already invited suggestions from public on its portal mygov.in

Meeting farm groups 

The Finance Minister will hold her first  pre-Budget consultation with farm bodies and agricultural experts on Tuesday, amid delayed monsoon and drought in states like Maharasthra.