Budget 2019: FM junks western briefcase

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New Delhi: Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman will present her first Union budget in Parliament today at 11 am. This is also the first Budget of the Narendra Modi-led NDA government in its second term. It will be keenly watched on both sides of the aisle in Parliament, and also by investors, both domestic and foreign, besides various interest groups like farmers and the anxious middle-class.
Budget 2019 is expected to lay down the Modi 2.0 government’s road map for the economy and the nation for the next five years. It might look to boost spending at the cost of short-term slippage in fiscal deficit targets.
The economy has lately been impacted by slowing trade, rising protectionism, trade conflict between the United States and China, Brexit, US sanctions on Russia, Iran and Venezuela impacted the domestic economy. The recent sluggishness in the economy has led to expectations that the Budget would contain further stimulus measures to boost growth through new policy initiatives and continued reforms to achieve accelerated growth and increase in employment.
On Thursday, the government tabled the Economic Survey 2018-19. It projected the country’s GDP growth for 2019-20 at 7 per cent, up from five-year low of 6.8 per cent, on the back of anticipated pickup in investment and consumption. The survey retained the fiscal deficit projection at 3.4 per cent of GDP for the current financial year, the same as in the revised estimate of Interim Budget 2019-20. The Survey also said that the country would need to grow at eight per cent annually to be able to achieve its target of becoming a $5-trillion economy by 2024-25.

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