Mumbai: India unveiled a new budget stressing a commitment to self-reliance as it seeks to revive growth from an unprecedented recession due to the coronavirus outbreak.
"The government is fully prepared to support and facilitate the economy's reset," Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman said.
Benchmark stocks were trading up 1.3 per cent at 11am in Mumbai, when she started speaking, set to snap six days of losses.
All too critical
The Union Budget is among India's most highly anticipated and closely watched annual events, more so this year as Prime Minister Narendra Modi's government seeks to recover from the country's deepest-ever recession amid one of the world's worst coronavirus outbreaks.
The new budget, for the fiscal year starting April 1, also comes as the nation's financial sector faces increasing pressure from a growing pile of bad loans, escalating border tensions with China and widespread anger from farmers, whose protests against market reforms overwhelmed parts of the capital New Delhi last week.
Not fixated on deficits
Sitharaman had pledged before Monday that the government would look beyond fiscal deficits in its aim to revive Asia's third-largest economy, which is expected to outpace the global recovery.
The government's annual economic report card, released Friday, forecast an 11 per cent rebound in the coming fiscal, following an estimated 7.7 per cent contraction in the current year.
The Reserve Bank of India will make its next rate decision this Friday. The central bank has paused rate cuts since the middle of last year due to sticky inflation, which has recently shown signs of easing, opening the door for further stimulus.