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FM Nirmala Sitharaman Chairs First Pre-Budget Consultation with Leading Economists

Last updated: 21 June 2024

On Wednesday, Union Minister for Finance and Corporate Affairs, Nirmala Sitharaman, chaired the first pre-budget consultation in preparation for the General Budget 2024-25. This significant meeting brought together India's top economists and senior officials from the finance ministry to discuss and provide insights on the upcoming budget.

The finance ministry highlighted the event on social media, stating, "Union Minister for Finance & Corporate Affairs Smt. @nsitharaman chairs the first Pre-Budget Consultations with leading economists in connection with the forthcoming General Budget 2024-25 in New Delhi, today." This consultation marks the beginning of the comprehensive budget formulation process, aiming to gather valuable recommendations from the country's foremost economic experts.

FM Nirmala Sitharaman Chairs First Pre-Budget Consultation with Leading Economists

Historic Milestone for Nirmala Sitharaman

Nirmala Sitharaman is on track to become the first finance minister in India's history to present seven consecutive Union Budgets, surpassing the record held by Morarji Desai. This milestone underscores her significant role and influence in shaping the nation’s economic policies over the years.

Attendees and Agenda

The pre-budget consultation was attended by key figures including the Union Minister of State for Finance, Shri Pankaj Chaudhary, the Finance Secretary, and the Secretaries of the Departments of Economic Affairs, Revenue, Financial Services, and Corporate Affairs, as well as the Chief Economic Adviser.

Earlier, the ministry had called for suggestions from trade and industry associations on direct and indirect taxes and regulatory changes aimed at reducing compliance burdens. These suggestions are crucial for refining the duty structure, tax rates, and broadening the tax base, supported by economic justifications.

Focus Areas for Budget 2024-25

For customs and excise duties, the trade and industry sectors have been asked to provide statistical data on production, prices, and revenue impacts to justify their proposals. Regarding direct taxes, suggestions are sought on reducing compliance requirements, ensuring tax certainty, and minimizing litigation. The government’s medium-term policy aims to phase out tax incentives and exemptions while rationalizing tax rates.

Upcoming Parliamentary Sessions

The first session of the 18th Lok Sabha is set to commence on June 24. During this session, newly elected members will take their oaths, and the Speaker of the House will be elected. President Droupadi Murmu will address a joint session of the Lok Sabha and Rajya Sabha on June 27, outlining the new government’s roadmap for the next five years. The session will conclude on July 3.

The Union Budget for 2024-25 is anticipated to be presented in the second half of July, with both Houses of Parliament expected to reconvene in the third week of July for this purpose.

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