Will the Union Budget 2020 make it India’s decade?

New Delhi:  Indications from statements made by President Ram Nath Kovind and Prime Minister Narendra Modi at the start of the Parliament’s Budget session may presage a Budget woven around the theme of the start of a new decade and the building of a New India.

PM Modi kicked off the “new decade” theme on Friday morning in his customary statement before the beginning of the Budget session.

He asked the Members of Parliament to work towards laying a strong foundation for a “bright future of the country in the new decade”.

The Prime Minister called for wide discussions on the economic issues in the country and how to maximise benefits to India in the current global economic scenario.

“We should focus mostly on economic issues in this session and we should to try to see how India can benefit most out of the present global economic scenario and how it can take forward the country’s economy.”

President Kovind laid even more emphasis on the “new decade” theme, which he said, can make this century India’s century.

In his address to Parliament, he said: “This decade is extremely important for India. In this decade, we will complete 75 years of our independence. In this decade, we all have to work together with new energy to give impetus to the making of a new India. With the efforts of my Government, a strong foundation has been laid in the last five years, to make this decade India’s decade and this century India’s century.

“I am pleased to address the joint sitting of Parliament at the start of the third decade of 21st century. I once again extend my best wishes for the New Year and congratulate all Members of Parliament for being a witness to this historic occasion.”

With the focus on the new decade and India’s opportunity to seize the global economic opportunity, the Union Budget, being the first of the decade, may well herald the second wave of structural reforms which can bring the economy out of the hole its finds itself in.

While the Budget is to be presented on Saturday, the budget-making team of the Finance Ministry is short of two key officials, including a full-time Expenditure Secretary.

In addition to Expenditure Secretary, the position of Joint Secretary, Budget, one of the key officials in the entire Budget-making process, was also vacant for almost three months.

The post of Expenditure Secretary fell vacant after the appointment of G.C. Murmu as the first Lt Governor of the newly-created Union Territory of Jammu and Kashmir. Murmu relinquished the post of Expenditure Secretary on October 29 and subsequently, the additional charge of the Department of Expenditure was given to Atanu Chakraborty.

Chakraborty, a 1985-batch IAS officer of the Gujarat cadre, is Secretary, Economic Affairs in the Finance Ministry. In late January, Rajat Kumar Mishra was appointed Joint Secretary, Budget.

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