Finance Minister Arun Jaitley, who is in the US for a medical check up, will return home on Friday, well ahead of the Budget presentation on 1 February, official sources said.
“The Finance Minister is set to return on the evening of 25 January,” said a senior official. “The interim budget will be presented by him for sure,” he said. He added that the process for printing of Budget documents began on Monday.
Jaitley, 66, left for the US on 13 January for what was believed to be a medical check-up relating to his kidney ailment. He had undergone a renal transplant surgery in May 2018.
However, there has been wide speculation that he may not be able to return early to present the interim budget, which will be his last before the general elections this year.
Jaitley had recently hinted that it may not be a simple interim budget or vote on account, which is generally the tradition in an election year. The full budget is presented by the new government after the elections.
“Ordinarily, there should be no reason why we should move away from that convention but there is a larger interest of the economy that always dictate what goes into that interim budget,” he said on Thursday.
Informed sources said that the government may roll out schemes to help increase farmers’ income, reduce farm input costs and raise credit flow to farmers.
Ministers of State for Finance Pon Radhakrishnan and Shiv Pratap Shukla on Monday held the annual pre-budget ritual, Halwa Ceremony, to mark the beginning of printing of Budget documents in the North Block, the seat of Ministry of Finance.