Challenges before Nirmala Sitharaman

Like any general election year, 2019 brings two federal budgets. The first was presented in Parliament by then-finance minister Piyush Goyal on February 1, ahead of the Lok Sabha polls. The second will be presented by finance minister Nirmala Sitharaman on July 5, a little more than a month after voters re-elected the National Democratic Alliance (NDA) government. And that is what has occupied the attention of the ministry of finance since the new government took charge.

Experts expect the first budget of the Narendra Modi government’s second term to focus more on consolidation – calibrating revenue and expenditure targets in such a way that adequate funds are made available to meet the promises already made, and take policy measures to boost the economy.

Given the present economic scenario, it may not be possible for the government to invest large funds towards employment generation, but there are many ways in which it could at least kick off the long-term process.

The country has also witnessed a slowdown in demand, which according to consumer-oriented surveys, is a result of dampening purchasing power and a drop-in employment rate - a reason why several noted economists have flagged the issue.

The captains of commerce have listed the challenges ahead of the Budget 2019 towards the Prime Minister Narendra Modi and the Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman. The industry experts have said that lifting the GDP, rationalisation of the GST, level playing field for the NBFCs and banks, incentivising digital transaction, etc. are the challenges that industry insiders are expecting the Finance Minister to address in her maiden union budget that she is going to present in the parliament on July 5th.

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