Amid economic slowdown, finance minister Pranab Mukherjee will hold brainstorming sessions with various stakeholders during his annual pre-budget meetings beginning January 11.  The first meeting would be held with agriculturalists, followed by a series of interactions with sectoral experts, representatives, industry captains and economists over the next ten days to get their feedback and inputs for incorporating them in Budget 2012-13.

Mukherjee is then slated to meet captains of industry on January 13, followed by trade union leaders on January 16.

Mukherjee is expected to elicit views of different interest groups on arresting the economic slowdown and combating the impact of global problems.

The current fiscal has been a difficult year for the country’s economy, with growth slipping to 6.9% in the second quarter this fiscal, the lowest in nine quarters.

Besides, industrial output in October saw a sharp de-growth of 5.1% as stock markets remained volatile driven by negative investor sentiment in India and abroad.

Social sector related groups will share ground realities faced by them with Mukherjee on January 17, followed by a meeting with CEOs of banks and financial institutions on January 19.

Issues like bank recapitalisation, access to affordable financial services — especially credit and insurance — and interest rates are likely to be discussed in the meeting.

The pre-budget exercise will end with a discussion with economists on January 20.

A wide range of issues like policy initiatives to fight sluggishness in growth, slump in industrial output and rising fiscal deficit targets are likely to come up for discussion.

Moreover, impending tax reforms like Direct Taxes Code and Goods and Services Tax may also figure in the discussions.

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September 2021