Following the slump in the Indian economy owing to the coronavirus pandemic, finance minister Nirmala Sitharaman is gearing up to deliver one of the most daunting and highly anticipated budgets of India.
The FM has many obstacles in her way, but the most significant one will be to restore growth and raise investor faith in India again. But she is not the only one faced with this tough task. Union Budget 2021 will be powered by the FM and her team.
Here is a look at the team behind the Budget.
Ajay Bhushan Pandey, Finance Secretary
He has led the Aadhar card push in the past and has been monitoring the tax agenda since the Modi Government was elected for the second time in 2019. He is a 1984 batch Indian Administrative Service (IAS) officer belonging to the Maharashtra cadre. He was former chief executive officer (CEO) of the Unique Identification Authority of India (UIDAI), the nodal agency of Government of India responsible for implementing Aadhaar. He also holds the additional charge as the current chairman of GSTN, Goods and Services Tax Network, India. India reduced corporate taxes during his tenure as Revenue Secretary to make it one of the most successful corporate tax destinations in the world, but for the past two years, revenue generation has been well below estimates, restricting the capacity of the Government to fuel growth by investment.
Tarun Bajaj, Secretary, Department of Economic Affairs
Tarun Bajaj has more than 31 years of administrative and public policy experience, working closely in the fields of finance and business. His tenure in the Ministry of Finance comes as India is experiencing its worst recession ever. He assumed the responsibility of the Secretary, Department of Economic Affairs, Ministry of Finance on May 1, 2020. He belongs to the Indian Administrative Service, 1988 batch, Haryana Cadre. Shri Bajaj has a Bachelor Degree in Commerce from Delhi University, MBA from IIM Ahmedabad and Post Graduate (M.Sc.) from London School of Economics and Political Science.
He currently chairs the National Investment and Infrastructure Fund (NIIF). He is currently also the Director on the Central Board of the Reserve Bank of India and SEBI. Shri Bajaj serves as Governor of India for International Fund for Agriculture Development (IFAD) and as Alternate Governor of India for the World Bank, Asian Development Bank (ADB), Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank (AIIB) and New Development Bank (NDB).
TV Somanathan, Expenditure Secretary
Before being appointed to the Finance Ministry as Expenditure Secretary, TV Somanathan also served at the PMO. It's said that both Somanathan and Bajaj have pulses on the field. At the beginning of the year, Somanathan introduced spending limits to save funds after tax collections were affected by the pandemic, but many suspect that real FY21 expenditure may surpass the budget forecasts, considering the Government's Atma Nirbhar Bharat package.
Debashish Panda, Banking Secretary
Banking Secretary Debashish Panda has cut his assignment. During the early part of the pandemic, UP's 1987 batch IAS had a dual challenge of holding the spirits high between bankers whilst driving loans and liquidity through the Emergency Credit Line Guarantee Scheme in separate strained industries. It was also the job of Panda and RBI to find a swift solution for both Yes Bank and Lakshmi Vilas Bank. Now, after the pandemic, Panda will desperately need to concentrate on improvements in the financial system.
KV Subramanian, Chief Economic Adviser
An economic growth survey will be presented by Chief Economic Advisor KV Subramanian, which will set the framework for the kind of budget that the Finance Minister will propose.
TK Pandey, Disinvestment Secratary
Secretary TK Pandey of DIPAM has set the wheels in motion on one of the most important things for the Modi government- the restructuring push. From loss-making domestic airline Air India to successful PSU revenues. The IAS officer of the 1987-Odisha cadre will be charged with developing a privatisation pipeline along with planning the mega IPO for LIC.