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Nirmala Sitharaman meets President ahead of Union budget presentation

News Agencies | Updated on: 1 February 2021, 10:20 IST

Union Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman and her team met President Ram Nath Kovind before presenting her third budget on Monday.

She was accompanied by her deputy Anurag Thakur and other officials of the Finance Ministry.

"Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman, MoS Finance & Corporate Affairs Anurag Thakur, and senior officials of the Ministry of Finance, called on President Kovind at Rashtrapati Bhavan before presenting the Union Budget 2021-22," the President tweeted.

With the Union Budget 2021-22 set to be delivered in paperless form for the first time, Sitharaman replaced the Swadeshi 'bahi khata' and switched to a tablet.

Dressed in a red and cream colour saree, accompanied by Thakur and other officials from her ministry at North Block, the Finance Minister was seen carrying a tablet kept inside a red coloured cover with a golden coloured national emblem embossed on it.

For the first time ever, the Budget will be paperless this year due to COVID. It will be available for all as a soft copy, online.

A Union Cabinet meeting is also scheduled at 10:15 am ahead of the Budget 2021 which will be presented in a short while from now. The Budget speech will begin at around 11 am today with Sitharaman beginning it with an address to the speaker of Lok Sabha. Usually, the duration of the presentation ranges from 90 to 120 minutes.

Sitharaman tabled the Economic Survey tabled in Parliament on Friday.The Indian economy can contract by 7.7 per cent in the current financial year ending on March 31 and the growth could be 11 per cent in the next financial year, according to the survey.

The contraction in FY21 is mainly due to the coronavirus pandemic and the visible damage caused by the subsequent countrywide lockdown to contain it.

The survey unveiled two days before the Union Budget is broadly in line with forecasts by the Reserve Bank of India (RBI) which has said it expected the country's GDP to contract by 7.5 per cent in the year ending March 31.

The International Monetary Fund (IMF) recently pegged the contraction in India's economy at 8 per cent in 2020-21. It expects a growth rate of 11.5 per cent in 2021-22 before a decline to 6.8 per cent in 2022-23 and that India will regain the tag of the fastest-growing large economy in the world in both years.

In the quarter ended June 2020, the GDP contracted by 23.9 per cent followed by a milder contraction of 7.5 per cent in the quarter ended September 2020.


Also Read: Union Budget 2021: Nirmala Sitharaman replaces Swadeshi 'bahi khata' with tablet

First published: 1 February 2021, 10:20 IST