NEW DELHI: All eyes are fixed on Union Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman as she is set to present Union Budget 2021-22 in Parliament on Monday (February 1), at a time when India is recovering from the COVID-19 crisis. The Budget presentation will begin with a speech from Finance Minister scheduled to take place at around 11 am.
Ahead of her third Budget presentation, Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman and her team will meet President Ram Nath Kovind, and will likely be accompanied by her deputy Anurag Thakur and other officials of the Finance Ministry.
The Union Cabinet will hold a meeting at 10:15 am before the presentation. Usually, the duration of the presentation ranges from 90 to 120 minutes. This year, the Union Budget will be delivered in paperless form for the first time.
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Finance Minister had launched the 'Union Budget Mobile App' for hassle-free access of Budget documents by Members of Parliament (MPs) and the general public using the simplest form of digital convenience, according to the Finance Ministry.
The App facilitates complete access to 14 Union Budget documents, including the Annual Financial Statement (commonly known as Budget), Demand for Grants (DG), and Finance Bill as prescribed by the Constitution. Ahead of the Budget, Sitharaman tabled the Economic Survey tabled in Parliament on Friday. The Indian economy can contract by 7.7 per cent in the current financial year ending on March 31 and the growth could be 11 per cent in the next financial year, according to the survey.
The contraction in FY21 is mainly due to the coronavirus pandemic and the visible damage caused by the subsequent countrywide lockdown to contain it.The survey unveiled two days before the Union Budget is broadly in line with forecasts by the Reserve Bank of India (RBI) which has said it expected the country`s GDP to contract by 7.5 per cent in the year ending March 31.
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In the quarter ending June 2020, the GDP contracted by 23.9 per cent followed by a milder contraction of 7.5 per cent in the quarter ended September 2020.
The first part of the Budget Session is scheduled to continue till February 15 while the second part of the session will be held from March 8 to April 8. Rajya Sabha will function from 9 am to 2 pm and Lok Sabha from 4 pm to 9 pm with Zero Hour and Question Hour.Parliamentary Affairs Minister Pralhad Joshi said on Saturday that the budget session will take up 38 legislative items.