When the Indian Finance Minister, Nirmala Sitharaman met former Prime Minister Manmohan Singh recently, it raised quite a curiosity. Although no official details have come out of what transpired between the two during the meeting, it is being considered significant given the fact that Sitharaman will be presenting the first Budget of the new government on July 5. Incidentally, it is also her first Budget as a Finance Minister.
There’s Lot To Learn From Manmohan Singh
A country’s democracy can be said to have advanced positively if despite differences the ruling and the opposition parties meet amicably to come up with the most effective solution. It is quite possible Nirmala Sitharaman visited Manmohan Singh to learn a few tips about drafting and presenting a budget.
It is because Dr. Manmohan Singh has quite an experience of handling the higher departments related to finance. He was the Finance Minister of India from 1991 to 1996 in the government of P.V. Narasimha Rao, also the Governor of RBI from 1982 and1985, and the Deputy Chairman of the Planning Commission of India from 1985 to 1987.
Also, it is for the first time in the last almost three decades that the former PM is not a member of Parliament when the budget is being presented. He was a member of Rajya Sabha in the last session and his tenure ended at the start of June this year.
New Budget Expected to Boost Economy
An interim budget was presented by the Finance Minister of earlier government Piyush Goyal for the financial year 2019-2020 which included several path-breaking announcements. Analysts are of the opinion that the first budget from the new Modi government will give a boost to the country’s economy and put India on the track of faster growth.
Economists believe that the 10% long-term capital gains (LTCG) tax that was imposed on profit above Rs.1 lakh in the earlier Budget will continue in all its probability in this year’s Budget as well. FICCI, an industry body has made recommendations that the Modi 2.0 government should increase the tax exemption on the preventive health check-up.
Currently, the exemption is Rs.5000/person whereas the industry experts want the government to increase it to Rs.20,000 per person. They are also requesting a “national priority” status for the sector of healthcare.