Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman to present Union Budget 2021 today

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India’s Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman (Image Source: Twitter/Nirmala Sitharaman)

Union Budget 2021 will be India’s first-ever paperless budget due to the Covid-19 pandemic. 

Union Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman will present the Union Budget in Parliament of India today at 11 am (IST) as India battles the Covid-19 crisis. The Budget presentation will start with a speech from Sitharaman. Ahead of her Budget presentation, the Finance Minister and her team will meet President of India Ram Nath Kovind. This is the ninth consecutive annual budget presentation before India by the Narendra Modi-led National Democratic Alliance (NDA) government. 

It is the first time ever since India’s independence that the budget papers will not be printed to reduce the possibility of social interaction and maintain physical distancing norms as the fear of the Covid-19 pandemic looms. The process of printing requires around 100 people to stay at the printing press for around a fortnight. 

Sitharaman stated that this year’s Budget will “be a Budget like never before.” She added it will be unique as it will be completely paperless, which is a significant break from tradition, due to the pandemic. Sitharaman launched the “Union Budget Mobile App” for hassle-free access of Budget-related documents by Members of Parliament and the general public.

The first part of the budget session will continue till February 15 and the second part will be held from March 8 to April 8.

According to the World Bank, in the quarter ending June 2020, India’s gross domestic product (GDP) contracted by 23.9% followed by a milder contraction of 9.6% in the quarter ended September 2020. The contractions are mainly due to the coronavirus pandemic and the subsequent nationwide lockdown. However, the World Bank predicted economic growth to recover to 5.4% this year. 

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