Facing one of the steepest slides in growth and just into the first year of its second term, the NDA-2 government decided to play safe when it came to imparting a positive impulse to the economy.
Union Budget 2020-21, presented by Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman Saturday, carried a visible imprint of the Prime Minister’s fiscal conservatism, inasmuch as it kept a tight leash on expenditure, tacitly admitting there was little headroom for higher spending. In doing so, however, the Budget reconciled to a new normal of sub-par growth, almost conceding it was unable to do the heavy lifting, particularly at a time when private investment has failed to revive, consumption has collapsed, and exports have shown no signs of a pick-up. For 2020-21, it projected a nominal growth rate of 10 per cent. Sitharaman’s only significant intervention related to the overhaul of the personal income tax structure.