South Asia and Beyond

Budget For A New Bharat

New Delhi: Next week Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman will rise to present her fifth consecutive Budget for the government led by the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP). She will be the first female FM to have served out a full term; the only other woman FM was Indira Gandhi, who held the finance ministry portfolio as an additional charge for two years. All eyes will be on what FM Sitharaman does on Budget Day. Especially, since this will be the last full-fledged budget before the general election due next year. Will the government then opt for an election friendly offering, like the Congress-led United Progressive Alliance (UPA) did with its farm loan waiver in its final budget before the general election of 2009? Or will it opt to invest in the long-term rebuilding of the economy?
To understand this and more we spoke to Haseeb Drabu, economist and former finance minister of Jammu and Kashmir. Haseeb was also a key member of the Goods and Services Tax (GST) Council that launched India’s biggest tax reform in 2016.

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