New Delhi: The Union Cabinet has approved the budget 2021-22 which will be presented by Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman in Parliament today.
The meeting began at around 10:15 am ahead of the budget presentation. Sitharaman and her team also met President Ram Nath Kovind before presenting her third budget on Monday. She was accompanied by her deputy Anurag Thakur and other officials of the Finance Ministry.
Dressed a crisp red-coloured saree with off-white detailing and gold border accompanied by Thakur and other officials from her ministry at North Block, the Finance Minister was seen carrying a tablet kept inside a red-coloured cover with a golden-coloured national emblem embossed on it.
With the Union Budget 2021-22 set to be delivered in paperless form for the first time, Sitharaman replaced the Swadeshi 'bahi khata' and switched to a tablet.
For the first time ever, the Budget will be paperless this year due to COVID. It will be available for all as a soft copy, online.
The Budget speech will begin at around 11 am today with Sitharaman beginning it with an address to the speaker of Lok Sabha. Usually, the duration of the presentation ranges from 90 to 120 minutes.
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.
The International Monetary Fund (IMF) recently pegged the contraction in India's economy at 8 per cent in 2020-21. It expects a growth rate of 11.5 per cent in 2021-22 before a decline to 6.8 per cent in 2022-23 and that India will regain the tag of the fastest-growing large economy in the world in both years.
In the quarter ended 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.