Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman has reached Parliament to present her re-elected government’s first Union Budget. Sitharaman created a buzz in the morning as she arrived at Parliament carrying a red cloth folder, which her officials described as ‘bahi khata’. This is in contrast to previous finance ministers who arrived on budget day carrying a customary briefcase. Sitharaman’s budget will be keenly watched, as it comes at the back of record unemployment, farm distress, a sagging investment ecosystem and contracting service sector. Macroeconomic cues are not encouraging either, with the rise of protectionism trade disputes (specifically the US-China trade war) emanating around the world.
There are also expectations of the budget providing an impetus to government spending and changes made to tax slabs in a bid to provide more relief to the taxpayers.