Sitharaman Retains Finance Ministry; Budget Expected in July

Nirmala Sitharaman officially resumed her role as the Union Finance Minister on Wednesday, marking her second consecutive term in this pivotal position
Sitharaman Retains Finance Ministry; Budget Expected in July

Nirmala Sitharaman officially resumed her role as the Union Finance Minister on Wednesday, marking her second consecutive term in this pivotal position. Having previously served as the Minister of State during the Modi Government's first term (2014-2019), this term signifies her overall third stint in the Ministry. Upon assuming charge, Sitharaman reiterated the government’s commitment to continuing the reform momentum initiated in 2014.

She emphasized the administration's dedication to ensuring 'ease of living' for citizens. Highlighting the transformative changes under Modi’s leadership in both his first and second terms, she asserted that these reforms have fostered a robust and resilient economy. The upcoming presentation of the Union Budget for the fiscal year 2024-25 is her immediate priority. Although the official date has not been disclosed, it is anticipated to occur in the latter half of July.

The presentation of this full budget will be closely watched as it is expected to outline the vision for the next five years, including significant policy announcements and measures aimed at addressing unemployment by boosting manufacturing.

Sitharaman, 65, holds the distinction of being the first full-time female Finance Minister of India and has presented six budgets thus far, including one interim budget. In the interim budget for FY25, she adhered to tradition, focusing solely on vote-on-accounts. All eyes are now on the forthcoming full budget, with expectations high for comprehensive economic strategies and policies. The commencement of the third term of the Modi government has set the stage for this critical financial event. Post-election, the primary question in financial markets is the timing of Sitharaman’s budget presentation.

According to sources, the government is considering two possible schedules for the budget session of Parliament. The first potential schedule proposes the budget session from June 24 to July 3, followed by a break, and resuming from July 22 to August 9. Should this schedule be adopted, Sitharaman may deliver her budget speech on July 22. The second option is a continuous session without a break from July 1 to August 2, which would place the budget speech on July 8.

A key factor influencing the final schedule will be the pre-budget consultations. These consultations are expected to begin on June 18 and may last seven to ten days. Depending on the conclusion of these discussions, the budget could be tabled between July 7 and 15. As Sitharaman gears up to present the budget, her approach and the specific measures she introduces will be crucial in shaping India's economic landscape. The financial community and citizens alike await her strategies to drive growth and address pressing economic issues.

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