The Modi government is very confident that it will be voted back to power on May 23rd when the results for the 2019 general elections will be declared. According to a report by ThePrint, senior officials of Finance Ministry have started the Economic Survey and Budget preparation process. The Chief Economic Advisor (CEA) did not present the Economic Survey this year as the nation is going to the polls. The Modi government presented interim budget despite all the fuss that for the first time a party will present full budget in election year.
The newly appointed CEA Krishnamurthy Subramanian, who was installed to the post in December 2018, after the sudden resignation of Arvind Subrammanian will prepare the Economic Survey this year. The survey is a report card of economic performance of the country in the ongoing fiscal. The situation of finance ministry is polar opposite to the situation during previous general election, when everyone was sure that UPA government will not come back to power. “Prior to the last general elections, work had almost come to a halt in the finance ministry. There was almost no doubt that there will be a change in guard. However, this time the situation is different,” said a ministry official.
The new budget, which is expected to be presented in the month of June or July, will be focused on rural economy. In the interim budget of this year, the Modi government has focused on rural sector. “We have started work on Union Budget and the Economic Survey. There has to be some sort of continuity in the work and policies, and the ministry is looking into data and outcome of major policies, especially in agriculture and rural sector,” said the official.
One major shift, from the interim budget, in the annual financial statement being prepared could be in the field of health and family welfare sector, which is expected to get greater importance in next term of Modi government. The expansion and strengthening of Ayushman Bharat Yojna- the flagship universal healthcare scheme could be witnessed in the new budget.
Modi government was always been confident about getting a second term. Most of the policies designed by the government give a glimpse of a long term agenda, extending till at least 2022. Previously, government advanced the budget day to February 1st in order to provide more time to different ministries to spend the allocated funds, with the spending beginning before the monsoon itself. Earlier, the budget was presented in the last week of February or in the initial weeks of March and therefore, the spending used to get delayed by 1 or 2 months from the beginning of financial year.
In the Interim Budget, the major announcements were aimed at the welfare of farmers and the middle class. The analysis of budget gives a sense that it focuses towards Bharat i.e. the real India which includes farmers, traders, middle class, small businessmen and unorganized sectors. The budget has majorly been focused upon the middle class and poor of the country. The next year is also expected to be on same lines.