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Explained: Who are the people working behind the scenes with Sitharaman for Budget 2020


New Delhi, Jan 28: Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman is all set to unveil the second budget since taking over the lead post in the finance ministry under Modi 2.0 government.

The ministry has taken a keen interest in the government's upcoming budget across all sectors to help spur growth in the world's seventh-largest economy.

Explained: Who are the people working behind the scenes with Sitharaman for Budget 2020

Modi and Sitharaman have separately held meetings with dozens of economists, industry leaders and farmers' groups, among others.

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As Finance Ministry prepares to deliver her budget speech on Feb 1, Here are the key people behind the preparation of the Budget 2020:

Rajiv Kumar, Finance Secretary

The 59-year old who took over as the financial services secretary in September 2017, had been credited with undertaking multiple reforms in the banking sector. He also provided a record amount of capital infusion in the public sector banks. Following the cleaning-up exercise undertaken by Kumar, banks have started posting profits in the first quarter of the current fiscal.

Before joining the finance ministry, Kumar was the establishment officer in the department of personnel and training.

T.V. Somanathan, Expenditure Secretary

TV Somanathan, a 1987 batch IAS officer from the Tamil Nadu cadre is an expenditure secretary in the finance ministry. He will be responsible for rationalizing government spending in a way that it boosts demand and reduces wasteful expenditure.

Somanathan has earlier worked in the prime minister office and would probably understand better the kind of budget PM Modi would like to see.

Atanu Chakraborty, Economic Affairs Secretary

Atanu Chakraborty, who took charge of the economic affairs division in July last year, is a government sale expert. Chakraborty consigned the country's maiden overseas sovereign bond sale plan to the back-burner.

While GDP growth slipped below 5 per cent under his watch, the team led by him drew up a more than $1 trillion infrastructure investment program to revive growth. Atanu's inputs are vital in determining India's budget deficit goals and raise resources to bolster the economy.

Tuhin Kanta Pandey, Disinvestment Secretary

Khachi, a 1986-batch Himachal Pradesh IAS officer, was appointed DIPAM secretary in July 2019. He is also responsible for the strategic sale of national carrier Air India and other state-owned companies. Divestment will form a major chunk of the government's income mobilization efforts.

Ajay Bhushan Pandey, Revenue Secretary

Ajay Pandey will look to raise resources. He is probably the most under pressure bureaucrat, given lower-than-estimated revenue collection amid a slowdown.

With USD 20 million worth of corporate tax cut in 2019, it is yet to yield results in terms of investments. He might influence the adoption of some of the proposals in the Direct Tax Code (DTC).

How Budget is kept a secret:

Union Budget preparation is a secret exercise. Until the process is over, the North Block will be guarded like a fortress. Electronic sweeping devices are installed. Accessing private e-mails is also prohibited and blocked on most computers in the ministry.

Use of personal mobile phone is not allowed. Only one landline remains functional.

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The Budget documents are kept as a secret with nearly 100 officials in lockdown in the North Block.

These 100 officials are not allowed to speak with anyone including their family members until the time period when the Budget is drafted, finalised, and printed.

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