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Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman has begun her annual consultations for finalising what would be her fifth Budget, to be presented on February 1, 2023. This will be a significant exercise for more than one reason.
It would be the first Budget after what appears to be a gradual retreat of the Covid-19 pandemic that had seriously affected Budget-making for the last two years. But more importantly, the Budget for 2023-24 will be prepared against the backdrop of high inflation, unemployment, hardening interest rates and a geo-political crisis caused by the Russia-Ukraine conflict, which is adversely impacting not only the crude oil prices and India’s external account, but also the pace of economic recovery.
So, what precisely should Ms Sitharaman be