Finance Minister To Walk Fine Line Today

Interim Budget, High Expectations: Finance Minister To Walk Fine Line Today

The Finance Minister will present her sixth straight budget.

All eyes, from captains of industry to the common man, will be on Union Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman, who will present the Interim Budget in Parliament today. Salaried taxpayers are hoping for changes in income tax slabs and higher deductions.

Here Are The Top 10 Points In This Big Story:

  1. Ms Sitharaman will present her sixth straight budget, equalling the record of former Prime Minister Morarji Desai. During his tenure as finance minister, Desai presented five annual budgets and one interim budget between 1959 and 1964.

  2. The Finance Minister also holds the record for the longest Budget speech – 2 hours and 42 minutes – which she delivered in 2020.

  3. Ms Sitharaman will present an Interim Budget as the Lok Sabha elections are due in April-May. The full Budget will be presented by the newly elected government.

  4. Ahead of the start of the Budget Session of Parliament on Wednesday, Prime Minister Narendra Modi expressed confidence that he would achieve a third straight victory and said that the full budget will be presented by a BJP-led government when it is formed after the Lok Sabha polls.

  5. Experts said Ms Sitharaman and the BJP will have to walk a fine line between pleasing various sections of people in an election year and keeping the fiscal deficit in check.

  6. Being an interim budget, major policy changes or big announcements may not be made, but expectations are still high.

  7. Salaried taxpayers are hoping for a change in income tax slabs, a higher standard deduction limit and a hike in exemptions under Sections 80C and 80D.

  8. For Micro, Small and Medium Enterprises (MSMEs), the expectation is that the government will bring in policies to ease regulatory procedures, reduce compliance burdens and provide greater access to loans.

  9. Addressing a joint sitting of the Houses of Parliament on Wednesday, President Droupadi Murmu said that the government is moving ahead with the guarantee of fulfilling the dreams of 140 crore countrymen.

  10. Opposition members, however, claimed the government had written an “election speech” for the President and said that issues such as income inequality, unemployment and price rise had not been addressed.

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