At a time when the Indian economy is facing one of its worst slowdowns in job creation and investment, Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman will on Saturday present the budget for the upcoming financial year in the Parliament.
This will be the second time when Sitharaman will deliver the budget speech. She is only the second woman finance minister after Indira Gandhi to do so in the history of independent India.
The Budget is expected to announce measures to restore economic growth and to set out a clear road map for achieving the ambitious target of USD 5 trillion economies by 2025.
After corporate tax cuts in September last year, guesswork is widespread about possible reduction in personal income taxes. A combination of an increase in the basic exemption limit or the introduction of a differentiated tax rate structure for higher incomes may be on the cards.
To defence the impact on collections, these tweaks might be accompanied by rationalisation in tax deduction.
Financial markets are expecting relief on Securities Transaction Tax (STT), Long Term Capital Gains Tax (LTCG) and removal of dividend tax.
Capital infusion in public sector banks and liquidity measures for Non-Banking Finance Companies (NBFC) may also be on the horizon.
Both the government sources and the economists felt the Budget would reaffirm the focus on infrastructure spending after the rollout of an ambitious National Infra Pipeline (NIP) in December.
The Budget speech will begin at around 11:00 am today with Sitharaman beginning it with an address to the speaker of Lok Sabha. Usually, the duration of the presentation ranges from 90 to 120 minutes.
The Union Budget is the financial statement of the government, detailing its revenue and expenditure in the past, as well as estimated spending and projections for the coming year.