Budget 2021: A tough balancing act for FM Sitharaman

Budget 2021: A tough balancing act for FM Nirmala Sitharaman

Owing to the coronavirus pandemic, India has seen a record economic contraction of 7.7 per cent

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As Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman promised a Budget like "never before", all stakeholders are hoping for an elaborate Budget this year with stress on expenditure.

But after the Covid-19 pandemic and lockdowns that followed ravaged the Indian economy and hurt some sectors majorly, the Finance Minister needs to bring the focus of the government on some key issues.

These include rebuilding the economy and reviving growth, jobs, revenue sources other than taxing the common man and supporting Covid-19-hit sectors.

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Owing to the coronavirus pandemic, India has seen a record economic contraction of 7.7 per cent, one of the most challenging financial environments the country has ever seen. The Budget’s main focus is bound to be reviving growth and boosting spending in the country. Experts believe that expenditure in select areas may help quicken growth. More growth can pave way for more revenues for the Centre.

It is necessary for this year’s Budget to build on labour reforms and job creation. Reports suggest that as many as 41 lakh youths in the country lost their jobs due to Covid-19. The government will focus this year’s Budget to boost urban employment and skill development.

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Some sectors were impacted more than others during the pandemic, which would be another key focus for the government. The manufacturing sector needs urgent help to improve exports. Hospitality, tourism, automobile and aviation are the other industries reeling under the impact of the pandemic.

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The government will also be looking to find alternative revenue sources than taxing the common man. The pandemic has severely affected the low and middle-income groups of the country, which makes it impossible for the government to increase taxes across the board. The government is also planning an aggressive divestment and asset monetisation programme in this fiscal to raise funds.