New Delhi: Finance minister Nirmala Sitharaman is crowdsourcing ideas for the Union budget in a bid to make her first budget as inclusive and broad-based as possible.

Sitharaman tweeted on Thursday that she was going through many of the ideas being shared on various media platforms. “Grateful for every thought/idea that’s being shared by scholars, economists and enthusiasts through print, electronic, and on social media. I read many of them; also, my team carefully collates them for me. Value every bit. Thanks. Please keep them coming," Sitharaman said in the post.

The Narendra Modi government will present its first budget of the second term on 5 July, which will indicate the direction of economic policies India will adopt in the near future.

The move seeking public inputs could enrich the ideas and help the finance ministry in shaping the budget to better reflect public expectations.

The Modi government had invited suggestions from the public for budget FY17 through its MyGov portal. “To foster the spirit of ‘Jan Bhagidari’ and to infuse more transparency into the budget making exercise, thereby having people as partners in the process of budget making, the Union Ministry of Finance has decided to invite suggestions for Union Budget 2016-17," the post said.

The Modi administration, which returned to power with a landslide victory in national polls this year, has several socio-economic challenges to tackle. It has to add momentum to a slowing economy and deliver on its promise of doubling farmers’ income. It also faces the task of multiplying quality jobs that are created in the economy at a time the nature of work itself is changing on account of automation and changes in technology.

Data released by the statistics ministry on 31 May showed that economic growth in Asia’s third-largest economy decelerated to a five-year low at 5.8% in the March quarter of 2018-19.

A slowing economy and tax revenue shortfall will also mean policymakers have to explore new ways of raising resources to finance welfare schemes. In 2018-19, faced with a revenue crunch, the finance ministry had to cut its subsidy payouts to the Food Corporation of India by over 69,000 crore to meet the fiscal deficit target of 3.4% of gross domestic product.

Earlier this week, industry executives sought tax cuts, lower interest rates and bold reforms in land acquisition and labour laws in a blueprint they prepared to aid the Modi administration in boosting economic growth.

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