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The Union Budget is undoubtedly the most important event in India’s policy calendar. The upcoming Budget will be special not only because estimates can be made in near-normal conditions after the pandemic, but it will also be the last full Budget before the 2024 Lok Sabha elections. While the finance minister’s speech and Budget numbers will be analysed in detail by different stakeholders for their economic and political relevance, three aspects will need special attention.
First will be the growth estimate. The assumption for the current fiscal year proved fairly conservative. Both nominal and real gross domestic product (GDP) growth rates, however, are likely to come down in 2023-24. The first advance estimates of national income have pegged the real GDP growth at 7 per cent for the current year. According to the available numbers, real growth in the first half of the fiscal year was 9.7 per cent, which means growth in the second half is projected
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