Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman presents her second Union Budget.

Union Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman’s second Budget, to be presented on February 1, is expected to announce measures to restore economic growth and to set out a clear road map for achieving the ambitious target of $ 5 trillion economy by 2025. A cut in personal income tax, sops for rural and agriculture sectors as well as an aggressive push on infrastructure spending are likely to be part of Finance Minister’s “feel-good” second Union Budget.

Facing the worst economic slowdown in more than a decade, Ms. Sitharaman is expected to pull out all stops to spur consumer demand and investment, government sources and economists said.

11.10 A.M.

The implementation of schemes and programmes that directly benefited the poor and the disadvantaged was sped up and scaled up, says the Finance Minister. She lists Ayushman Bharat, UPI, affordable housing through PMAY etc. The milestones achieved are unprecedented, globally recognised, she says.

We have moved on from a growth rate of just over 4% to around 7% in 2014-19.

Inflation was 9% in the last two decades, she says. We are now the fifth largest economy in the world, says Nirmala Sitharaman.

Our government shall work towards taking the country forward so that we can leapfrog to the next level of wealth, prosperity and well-being, she says.

Three prominent themes in the Budget are — aspirational India, economic development for all, a caring society that is both humane and compassionate.

The digital revolution which has placed India in a unique position globally will govern the future. We shall aim speedy delivery of services, she says.

11 A.M.

Nirmala Sitharaman begins her Budget speech

House is in session. Speaker Om Birla is in the Chair. Papers are laid on the table.

Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman rises to lay on the table the report of the 15th Finance Commission.

Ms. Sitharaman then presents a statement of estimated receipts and expenditure.

She then rises to present the Union Budget 2020-21. “In May 2019, Prime Minister Narendra Modi received a massive mandate to form the government again. People of India have unequivocally given their janaadesh for not just political stability, but have also reposed their faith in our economic policy. Let our businesses be innovative, healthy and solvent with use of technology.

Ms. Sitharaman presents a picture of “vibrant India” with what she calls the “gentle breeze of technology” to uplift minorities.

The Minister calls GST as historic and mourns the passing of Arun Jaitley, whom she calls the “architect of GST”. GST has integrated the country economically, she says, and has resulted in the formalisation of the economy. The turnaroud time for trucks has reduced by 20%. Inspector Raj has vanished, she says.

The average family has saved 4% of its monthly spending on account of reduced GST rates. We have added 60 lakh new taxpayers, she says.

10.45 A.M.

Merge ‘Make in India’ with ‘Assemble in India’ to create jobs: Eco Survey

The economic survey 2019-20 urged the government to integrate ‘Make in India’ with ‘Assemble in India’ to create 4 crore jobs by 2025. The survey pointed out that the current international trade environment presents an opportunity for India to chart a China-like, labour intensive, export trajectory. This in turn will create jobs for the youth, the survey said.

By integrating ‘Assemble in India for the world’ into ‘Make in India’, India can raise its export market share to about 3.5% by 2025 and 6% by 2030. This will create 8 crore by 2030, the survey said.

10.30 A.M.

Delhi should get even more in this Budget, says Kejriwal

“People of Delhi hope that the Centre will protect the interests of Delhi. In view of the elections, Delhi should get even more. The budget will show how much the BJP cares about Delhi,” said Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal in a tweet on Saturday.

10 A.M.

Congress hopes Union Budget will provide relief to salaried class, invest in rural India

The Congress expressed hope that the Union Budget 2020 would provide relief to the salaried class through tax cuts and invest in rural India besides providing a healing touch to the common man and industry facing “hardship” since demonetisation.

Congress chief spokesperson Randeep Surjewala said the last budget led to crashing consumption levels, soaring unemployment and falling GDP.

“Budget 2019= Consumption crashed, Unemployment soared, Farm distress surged, Incomes declined, Investments slumped, Public spending fell, GDP nose dived!,” Mr. Surjewala tweeted.

“Yet, Modiji gave Corporate Tax Cuts of ₹1,45,000 crore. Let Budget 2020 give tax cuts to Salaried Class and invest in Rural India,” he said.

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