Union Finance Minister Arun Jaitley began presenting India’s national budget in the Lok Sabha on Wednesday amid hopes that the proposals will help revive a slowing economy, hit further by demonetisation of high value currency. This is his fourth budget as Finance Minister.
“Inflation has been controlled, low growth has been replaced with high growth, and a massive war against black money has been launched,” the Finance Minister said in his opening remarks, adding there will be a sure recovery of the economy in the next fiscal.
Just ahead of the presentation, a meeting of the Cabinet presided over by Prime Minister Narendra Modi, gave its consent to the proposals. Prior to that, the top brass of the Finance Ministry, led by Jaitley met with President Pranab Mukherjee for his approval.
This is the first time the date of presentation has been advanced by nearly a month, even as it co-opts the Railway Budget into it, abandoning the practice that was started in 1924.
Individual tax payers are hoping for both a hike in the exemption limit and deductions under Section 80CC of the Income Tax Act, while the industry has sought a further rationalisation of corporate tax, excise and customs duty.