New Delhi: Finance minister Pranab Mukherjee will start the customary pre-budget consultations with different interest groups like captains of industry, economists, agriculturists and bankers next week.
“The pre-budget meetings will begin next week after Mukherjee returns from his trip to West Bengal,” said a ministry official, adding that the minister has already met several important functionaries to firm up his views about the budget, to be presented in the first week of July.
Among others, the finance minister met railway minister Mamata Banerjee and discussed the budget proposals of the rail ministry.
Banerjee said that in addition to seeking relief for the cyclone-hit people in West Bengal, she also held discussions about the rail budget with the finance minister.
Mukherjee, who is leaving for West Bengal and his constituency Jangipur after assuming charge as the finance minister, is expected to return to the capital by the weekend.
He has already said that he would make endeavour to get budget, the first of the new UPA government, approved by Parliament before the end of the next month.
As a general practice, finance minister along with senior officials meets representatives of trade and industry, senior economists, trade union leaders unions, agriculturists and bankers to elicit their views on the budget.
“The regular budget 2009-10 exercises are underway in full swing,” Mukherjee said yesterday pointing out that Congress in its manifesto had promised to come out with the budget within 45 days of formation of the new government.
As finance minister in the previous government, Mukherjee presented an interim budget on 16 February and sought vote on account for four months to withdraw funds from the consolidated fund of India to meet necessary expenditure.
The interim budget runs till 31 July, so the budget has to be passed by Parliament by that date to avoid another vote-on-account.
Revenue secretary P.V. Bhide had been meeting representatives of industry chambers like CII even before formation of the new government.
The chamber sought withdrawal of fringe benefit tax and surcharge on corporate tax to stimulate the economy reeling under the impact of the global financial meltdown.
The minister had said yesterday that top most priority of the new government would be to revive the growth momentum of our economy which has been affected by the global financial crisis.
India’s growth rate is estimated to have slipped to 6.5-6.7% during 2008-09 from 9% a year ago as a result of the financial crisis.