Budget 2024: Meet Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman’s 11-Member Squad | Economy News

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New Delhi: Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman is gearing up to unveil the government’s final interim budget before the 2024 general election, scheduled for February 1. Experts along with the opposition are anticipating the announcement of strategies aimed at guiding the economy through the turbulent global landscape, adhering to fiscal responsibility, and considering electoral factors.

With just a few hours remaining, India’s Finance Minister, Nirmala Sitharaman, is on the verge of presenting the highly anticipated Interim Budget for 2024. As we all know this will be an interim budget and not a full union budget. Do you have any idea about the brains behind the budget’s preparation? 

Let’s delve into the minds responsible for shaping the Interim Budget

TV Somanathan (Finance and Expenditure Secretary)

TV Somanathan, an IAS officer from the 1987 batch of the Tamil Nadu cadre, is serving as the finance secretary. With a rich background in budgetary matters, he is leading the charge in interim budget 2024 preparation. His focus lies in striking a balance between driving growth through increased capital expenditure and ensuring fiscal consolidation remains a priority. In his earlier roles, Somanathan served as a joint secretary in the Ministry of Corporate Affairs (MoCA) from 2015 to 2017. During this period, he played a crucial role in implementing economic policies while being stationed in the Prime Minister’s Office (PMO). Currently, he also holds the position of chairman for the committee responsible for reviewing the pension system for government employees.

Sanjay Malhotra (Revenue Secretary)

A Rajasthan cadre IAS officer of the 1990 batch, Sanjay Malhotra assumed office in the Department of Revenue in October last year, transitioning from the Department of Financial Services. He has the challenging task of balancing the calls for tax relief amid soaring inflation with the need for increased revenues to support additional expenditures leading up to the elections.

Malhotra, with prior experience as the chairman and managing director of the state-run REC, played a pivotal role in the recent surge in tax collections. His focus will now be on evaluating tax-related proposals for the interim budget 2024. Notably, Malhotra is an alumnus of IIT-Kanpur and holds a master’s degree in public policy from Princeton University, USA. 

Ajay Seth (Secretary, Department of Economic Affairs)

In April 2021, Seth, an IAS officer from the 1987 Karnataka cadre, assumed the position of economic affairs secretary. Given India’s G20 presidency, Seth’s contributions to the interim budget will be closely monitored for their potential to stimulate economic growth while ensuring macroeconomic stability. Additionally, Seth plays a crucial role in shaping the nation’s monetary and market-related policies, acting as a bridge between the central government and regulatory bodies like the RBI and the SEBI.

Tuhin Kanta Pandey (Secretary, Department of Investment And Public Asset Management)

In 1987, Pandey, an IAS officer from the Odisha cadre, played a crucial role in the privatization of Air India and the extensive listing of Life Insurance Corporation of India (LIC). Tuhin Kanta Pandey’s appointment came during a period when the government was considering a second attempt at the sale of Air India. 

Vivek Joshi (Secretary, Department of Financial Services)

Vivek Joshi, a 1989 batch IAS officer of the Haryana cadre, assumed the role of Secretary of the Department of Financial Services on November 1, 2022. As the principal bureaucrat overseeing pivotal financial services sectors like banks, financial institutions, insurance companies, and the National Pension System, Joshi will play a vital role in shaping the interim budget for 2024-25. Additionally, he holds membership on the boards of both the Reserve Bank of India and the largest bank in the country, the State Bank of India. 

V Anantha Nageswaran (Chief Economic Advisor)

V Anantha Nageswaran, formerly a member of the Prime Minister’s Economic Advisory Council (PMEAC), assumed the position of Chief Economic Adviser shortly before the presentation of the FY23 budget.

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