Prime Minister Narendra Modi of India has taken a strong interest in preparing the forthcoming government budget in order to stimulate growth in Asia's third-largest economy.
Modi and his finance minister, Nirmala Sitharaman, met with scores of economists, business leaders, farmers ' organizations, and others separately to hear opinions about the steps needed to solve the slowdown in growth.
As Sitharaman plans her budget speech on February 1, five key government personalities who work behind the scenes to shape the revenue and expenditure strategy are being looked at.
Atanu Chakraborty, Economic Affairs Secretary
The Indian maiden overseas sovereign bond sale proposal was sent back to Chakraborty, a specialist in government assets who took care of the economic department in July. While economic expansion fell below 5 percent, a panel led by him developed a more than $1 trillion investment program for infrastructure to revive growth. The efforts are vital to the target of India's budget deficit and to collect money to boost the economy.
Rajiv Kumar, Finance Secretary
Kumar, the leading finance ministry bureaucracy, overseeded audacious banking reforms, including a plan to merge government-run banks and an enormous effort to recapitalize creditors in one of the world's worst bad-loan ratios. It is meant to provide valuable information to help prevent shocks in the shadow banking sector and drive credit growth in the economy.
T.V. Somanathan, Expenditure Secretary
Somanathan, the current finance minister, has done his job by streamlining government spending to raise competition and eliminate wasteful spending. Having already worked in the office of Prime Minister, he would probably better know what kind of budget Modi wanted to see.
Ajay Bhushan Pandey, Revenue Secretary
Pandey is allocated more resources and is probably the bureaucrat most under pressure given that revenues are less than estimated in the middle of a slowdown. With corporate tax cuts worth $20 billion last year still yielding investment results, he could influence the adoption of some of the proposals in the Direct Tax Code, which have proposed elimination of some of the exemptions.
Tuhin Kanta Pandey, Disinvestment Secretary
He is responsible for the strategic disposal of Air India Ltd. and other government-owned companies, whereby divestment constitutes a major component of government income mobilization efforts. The current year's 1.05 trillion Rupees target is expected to be met a mile away, but a massive target is not missing next year.
Tags Union Budget