Budget Session Commences Today, Interim Budget Tomorrow

The Budget Session of the Parliament, the last one of the Narendra Modi government before the country heads for general elections, began on Thursday. Addressing the customary joint session of both the Houses, President Ram Nath Kovind heaped praise on the Narendra Modi government over its achievements during the last four years. “I am happy to inform that under the government’s ‘Make In India’ initiative, India has become the world’s second largest manufacturer of mobile phones,” the President said.

The interim budget will be presented on Friday by the interim Finance Minister Piyush Goyal. Finance Minister Arun Jaitley is currently undergoing treatment in the United States. Speculations are ripe that the budget will be a populist one, with the farm sector getting prime attention to address the agrarian crisis. The budget might also provide relief to the salaried class with further rationalisation in the tax structure.

The Budget will seek Parliament’s nod for spending for four months till a new government is sworn-in. During the session, the government is expected to push for the passing of the Citizenship (Amendment) Bill, 2016 and the Triple Talaq Bill.

In his address, the President said that GST was going to help build an honest and transparent trading system in the country which will be a great advantage for the youth of the country.

“Because of the government’s Jan Dhan Yojana, bank accounts of over 34 crore people have been opened in the country and almost every family has been linked to the banking system,” President Kovind said in Parliament on Thursday.

He added that the scheme had helped add Rs 88,000 crore to the formal economy.

“According to an international agency, 55 percent of the total bank accounts opened between 2014-2017 were opened in India itself,” Kovind said.

Amid speculation over an announcement of a farm relief package in the upcoming Budget, President Ram Nath Kovind said the government is attempting to find “permanent solutions” for problems faced by farmers, who are the foundation of the economy.

The President recounted Modi government’s commitment to doubling farmers’ income by 2022 and listed measures taken during the last four and half years to address farm sector issues.

Ahead of the commencement of the Budget Session, Prime Minister Narendra Modi told reporters outside the Parliament that “the country is observing the proceedings of the Parliament. The MPs should hold a meaningful debate in this session of the Parliament. We are eager to hold a debate on all important issues.”

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