Union Finance Minister Pranab Mukherjee on Friday is set to present his seventh Union Budget for the fiscal year (FY) 2012-2013 in Parliament under mounting pressure of allies in the United Progressive alliance (UPA) government and rising fiscal deficit due to cooling down the economic growth.
All sectors of the society including public service sector, agriculture sector, social reform sector, direct and indirect tax payers and corporate sectors are expecting a blend of soft and strict steps in Mukherjee’s third consecutive union budget.
Pranab is the second finance minister after former finance minister and Prime Minister Morarji Desai, who will present highest number of budgets.
Morarji presented 10 union budgets as being FM in 1959-64, 1967-70 and between 1977 and 1979.
Today's budget will be UPA's ninth successive budget in its two consecutive terms of incumbency.
This ninth consecutive budget is coming in the backdrop of slowing growth and growing fiscal deficit. The rising price of fuels, food and food grains, higher interest rate, slowing industrial growth, real estate sector, and worsening export-import sector will be key challenges to Pranab Mukherjee.
The government employees will looking for higher tax rebate at least up to 2.50 lakh and less percentage on slabs while direct and indirect tax payers will also eye on Direct Taxes Code (DTC) Bill to be implemented after this budget.
On Thursday, the Chief Economic Adviser to Finance Ministry, Kaushik Basu forecasted a 7.6 percent growth rate for the 2012-13 fiscal year, and said growth would revive slowly due to a drop in investment and savings rates.
Speaking on the figures mentioned in the annual Economic Survey of India, Basu said: "During the next year, that is 2012-13, India's growth rate will be 7.6 percent, plus or minus 0.25.." However, it said that fiscal consolidation was the only way to keep inflation down.
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