Economy8 hours ago (Jan 28, 2021 05:09PM ET)
© Reuters. High Stakes as India Vows to Unveil a Budget Like ‘Never Before’
(Bloomberg) — India will turn to Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman’s budget on Monday to see how she prioritizes spending to get the pandemic-ravaged nation back to being the world’s fastest-growing major economy.
Sitharaman’s plan will likely rely on generous public spending to spur activity, putting more money in the hands of the average taxpayer to boost consumption and easing rules to attract investments when she presents the budget at 11 a.m. in New Delhi.
“Expectations are high, going into this budget,” said Samiran Chakraborty, an economist with Citigroup Inc (NYSE:). “Expenditure profile could move from survival to revival as the focus on infrastructure increases.”
That spending may continue to keep the fiscal deficit far wider than the 3% of gross domestic product mandated by law. The budget gap for the year to March will probably be 7.25% of GDP against a planned 3.4%, according to a Bloomberg survey. The same poll shows the target for the next fiscal year will likely be 5.5%.
Missing deficit goals will be the least of the worries for Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s government. It has to contend with creating jobs for the millions who lost their livelihoods to lockdowns to combat the world’s second-largest coronavirus outbreak, quelling protests by farmers against agriculture reforms and reviving growth in an economy headed for its b