Budget 2021: All eyes are on Union Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman as she is set to unveil a Budget like ‘never before’. This will be India’s first-ever paperless Budget as the voluminous documents will not be printed this year, following the COVID-19 protocol, and will instead be distributed electronically to the Members of Parliament (MPs).Also Read - Capital Expenditure, Reduction in GST: 10 Things India’s Middle Class Expects From Budget 2022

Well, this is not the first time that there would be a change in tradition in the presentation of the Budget under Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman. In 2019, she had ditched the colonial legacy of a Budget Briefcase and had introduced the ‘Bahi Khata‘ or a ledger, enclosed in a red cloth folder, tied with a string to carry crucial documents. Also Read - Stable Policy, Credit Guarantee: What Renewable Energy Sector Expects From Budget 2022

What are the Expectations?  Also Read - Budget 2022: From Briefcase To Bahi-Khata, Here Are Interesting Facts That You Should Know

Stimulus package to boost economy: In a bid to lift the economy, which is still reeling from the damage caused by the coronavirus pandemic, Finance Minister may offer more stimulus packages to certain sectors. Earlier this month, Sitharaman has asserted that the government will extend support to those who have been affected badly due to the lockdown.

Tax benefits: Salaried-class expects the government to extend tax benefits. Sources said that this year’s Budget may have sops announced earlier under the Atmanirbhar Bharat package to help people in their fight against the Covid-19 pandemic.

On the other hand, the Shopping Centres Association of India (SCAI) expecting financial waivers, a loan moratorium for the sector along with easing of income tax norms. In its budget recommendations, the industry body has also sought restructuring of GST norms to strengthen the retail and shopping centre industry.

Affordable housing: Some amendments in section 24(b) of the Income Tax Act, 1961 is also expected this year. Section 24(b) of the Income Tax Act allows the deduction of interest on home loans from the taxable income. Besides, homebuyers who lost jobs due to the pandemic also want the government to announce a reduction in EMI/Rent under a separate section.

Loan waiver scheme: Amid the ongoing farmers protests, the Centre may announce a loan waiver scheme to appease farmers across the country. The rationale behind this is that when the government announces a loan waiver, debt-burdened farmers get relief, and farmers’ confidence in the government increases.

Policy on PSU privatisation: Budget 2021 may come out with a policy on privatisation of public sector enterprises detailing the scope of its PSU sell off programme highlighted as part of Atmanirbhar package last year. Sources said that the policy highlighted at the time of Atmanirbhar Bharat announcements has now been approved by the Union Cabinet and may form a part of the Budget announcements to be made by the Finance Minister tomorrow.