PC to present Budget today

Finance Minister P Chidambaram will present the last Union Budget of the United Progressive Alliance government  in the Lok Sabha on Thursday, which will see him breaking a seven-Budget presentation record made by his predecessor Pranab Mukherjee.

The Lok Sabha has so far witnessed 81 Budget speeches, including interim and special Budgets, ever since the first annual financial statement of the country was presented by the then finance minister R K Shanmukham Chetty on November 26, 1947.

Last year, Pranab Mukherjee presented the Union Budget for 2012-13 for the seventh time, becoming the second after former prime minister Morarji Desai, who had presented 10 Budgets.

Prime Minister Manmohan Singh has presented six Budgets during his tenure as finance minister.

Chidambaram will present India’s 82nd Budget by making a speech at 11 am in the Lok Sabha amid varied expectations from different quarters.

The Economic Survey for 2012-13, which was tabled by the finance minister in Parliament on Wednesday, disfavoured imposing tax on super rich, suggesting that the government should focus on widening tax base in preference to raising rates.

With upcoming elections to various State Assemblies and the Lok Sabha in 2014, the finance minister will be under pressure to balance the compulsions of growth and fiscal prudence.

The biggest challenge before Chidambaram will be to keep every constituent happy while introducing measures to contain decelerating economic growth and bringing down fiscal deficit to the committed level of 4.8 per cent of the Gross Domestic Product.

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