The finance ministry has kicked off the exercise to formulate Union Budget 2021-22 by seeking suggestions and ideas from people. The Union Budget 2021, which will be the third budget of Modi's 2.0 government and Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman, is likely to be presented on February 1.
The government faces a daunting task to cope with coronavirus economic fallout and address critical issues pertaining to growth contraction and subdued revenue collection triggered by the pandemic.
The coronavirus-induced lockdown led to a steep contraction of 23.9 per cent in GDP for the April-June quarter compared to the same period a year ago. The economy is projected to contract by 9.5 per cent this year, according to an RBI forecast.
As per a notification issued by the finance ministry, the nearly one-month long exercise to finalise the Revised Estimate (RE) for 2020-21 and Budget Estimate (BE) for 2021-22 began on October 16. The finance ministry will hold pre-budget consultations with representatives from different sectors and stakeholders.
"The Pre-Budget/RE (Revised Estimate) meetings will begin on October 16, 2020," according to the Budget Circular (2021-22) of the Budget Division of the Department of Economic Affairs.
"This year, however, keeping in view the COVID-19 situation and the need to maintain social distancing, the number of participants for the pre-budget meetings may be restricted to a maximum of 5 officers (for each meeting) from a Ministry/Department, not below the rank of Director/DS," the Budget Division of the finance ministry had said in a notice," the notification read.
The Budget Estimates (BE) for 2021-22 will be provisionally finalised after the expenditure secretary completes discussions with other secretaries and financial advisers. Pre-Budget meetings will begin from October 16 and continue until the first week of November, it said.
Prime Minister Narendra Modi-led NDA government has ended the old tradition of presenting the Budget at the end of February. The then (late) finance minister Arun Jaitley had for the first time presented the annual accounts on February 1, 2017.