Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman will unveil the Union Budget for financial year 2021-22 on February 1. Ms Nirmala Sitharaman has already said her upcoming budget will be like never before and alluded to it as “unlike anything seen in the last 100 years”.
Budget 2021-22 assumes special significance in wake of the Covid 19 pandemic. It will be the first Budget of the NDA government in the midst of the ongoing Covid19 pandemic. And in a significant break from tradition, this will be the first time in the history of independent India that the Budget will be paperless.
Nirmala Sitharaman will have the uneviable task of managing the government’s battered finances and ensuring a recovery in demand, in an economy facing its worst contraction since 1952. The economy is likely to contract by 7.7 per cent in financial year 2020-21 in the aftermath of the covid19 pandemic. The finance minister will also have to revive declining revenues and restore millions of jobs lost during the covid19 lockdown earlier last year.
In Budget 2021, the government is likely to focus on strengthening its flagship Atmanirbhar Bharat Abhiyan and providing further impetus to the ‘Make in India’ program so as to boost economic demand and stimulate growth, according to experts. The healthcare sector may also receive special attention, with an expansion of the Ayushman Bharat initiative, given that the country is passing through a gigantic health crisis.
The Budget session of Parliament will be divided into two parts, from January 29 to February 15 and March 8 to April 8. The session will begin on January 29, with the address of President Ram Nath Kovind to the joint sitting of both the Houses. The Budget will be presented on February 1 and session of Parliament will conclude on April 8.
The Budget used to be presented on the last working day of February before the Former finance minister Arun Jaitley changed the practice in 2017. Mr Jaitley presented the budget on February 1, 2017 and this tradition has continued till date. The year 2017 also marked the year when the Railway Budget was first presented as a part of the Union Budget, a shift from a 92-year-old custom of having a separate railway budget and union budget on different days.