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Sitharaman's 4th Budget to focus on growth, jobs amid a sharp rise in Covid cases

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All eyes on Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman as she gets ready to present the Union Budget

All eyes are on Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman as she is set to present her fourth budget in three weeks from now. With a target to become a $5 trillion economy by 2025, the focus will be on economic growth and employment generation. Disinvestment, rationalisation of import duties for raw materials, micro small and medium enterprises, agriculture and start-ups with a focus on unicorns are likely to be the drivers of the forthcoming budget. Sources also said that though the minister is unlikely to wind up the stimulus package, announced in the wake of the deadly Delta variant of Covid 19 last year, in a hurry, a roadmap to the path of fiscal consolidation is expected.

The government has projected a fiscal deficit of 6.8 per cent for the current financial year.

Despite the sharp rise in the Covid 19 cases in India, policymakers said that the country’s growth story may not be severely impacted by the current wave though several states have imposed restrictive measures to contain the spread. The silver lining for India is that the hospitalisation rate has remained in control.

Sources also said that with the changing scenario amid the pandemic, the government will also introduce measures and economic policies as and when required depending on the situation and the feedback from industries.

Also read: World Bank pegs India’s economic growth at 8.3% for 2021-22, sees global growth slowing to 4.1%

“BJP is a party which believes that businesses and industries are partners in nation-building, we are a right to centre party supporting free market economy. Our focus is on economy and economic growth and we have been taking the required measures from time to time to create a conducive ecosystem,” Gopal Krishna Agarwal, BJP’s national spokesperson on economic affairs, told India Narrative.

Meanwhile, the World Bank on Tuesday, retained its growth forecast for India at 8.3 per cent for FY 22.

In a bid to boost manufacturing, the Centre has already given its nod for a Rs 76,000 crore production linked incentive (PLI) scheme aimed at developing the semiconductor and display manufacturing ecosystem. The shortage of chips has hit several industries including the automobile sector.

“The thrust is on boosting manufacturing and the PLI scheme is working and we expect a further push in private and foreign investments this year,” said an insider.