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Pre-Budget Consultations To Begin Soon

By Arup Roychoudhury
November 16, 2022 12:39 IST
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IMAGE: Finance Nirmala Sitharaman chairs a meeting to review the progress of the National Monetisation Pipeline in New Delhi, November 14, 2022. Photograph: PTI Photo

Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman is likely to begin her pre-Budget consultations with stakeholders from the third week of November.

Sitharaman and senior officials will hold eight meetings with representatives of agriculture and agro processing Industry, industry bodies, infrastructure and climate change, financial sector and capital markets, services and trade, social sector, trade union and labour organisations, economists and state finance ministers.

"We are finalising the dates and invitations will be sent out soon," a senior government official told Business Standard.

According to sources, seven of the meetings will be held in late November or early December at the finance ministry, as is the norm.

However, the meeting with state finance ministers could be held in Madurai, which is also likely to host the next Goods and Service Tax Council meeting.

"For logistical reasons, the pre-Budget meeting with state finance ministers could be held along with the GST Council meeting, as all state FMs will be there or will be represented. The pre-Budget interaction will of course be a separate session from the GST Council meeting," the official said.

As is the norm every year, the finance minister, the five secretaries of the finance ministry, the chief economic advisor, and other officials meet interest groups and seek their suggestions ahead of the Budget.

These meetings involve the representatives listing out their expectations and demands from the Budget.

But these aren't the only pre-Budget meetings to seek inputs.

Officials from the Expenditure and Economic Affairs Departments meet representatives from all the central government ministries, agencies, and Union Territories.

The aim of these meetings is to set Revised Estimates for FY23 and Budget Estimate allocations for FY24.

The prime minister also meets industry leaders ahead of the Budget, in a meeting by NITI Aayog.

The ruling BJP's economic wing also presents its recommendations to the FM after interacting with stakeholders.

The 2023 Union Budget is expected to be presented by Sitharaman on February 1.

In October, she had said the Budget would have to be 'very carefully structured' in order to maintain growth momentum and reel in inflation, which she identified as the biggest challenge facing the Indian economy.

'Specifics (regarding what the upcoming Budget may contain) may be difficult at this stage because it's a bit too early. But broadly, the growth priorities will be kept absolutely on the top,' the minister said.

'Even as I speak about the concerns that inflation brings before me. So, inflation concerns will have to be addressed. But then how would you manage growth would be the natural question.'

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Arup Roychoudhury
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