10:26 Jaitley confirms Budget presentation is on: With President Pranab Mukherjee giving his assent, Finance Minister Arun Jaitley has confirmed that Budget 2017 will be presented today as scheduled.
The Congress and Shiv Sena had asked for the Budget to be postponed following the death of former Union minister E Ahamed, casting a shadow on the budgetary process.
However, with the President’s okay, the Budget presentation will proceed as scheduled.
Copies of the Budget have already arrived in Parliament, as has the finance minister along with his team.
There have been two precedents where the Budget has been read after a sitting MP had passed away. The first was in 1954 with the rail budget, and in 1974 with the Union budget.
10:19 Jaitley condoles E Ahamed’s demise: Expressing condolences on the sad demise of former union minister and Indian Union Muslim League leader E Ahamed, Union Finance Minister Arun Jaitley on Wednesday prayed that the former’s soul rests in peace.
‘Condolences on the sad demise of Mr. E Ahamed, a veteran parliamentarian & former Union Minister. May the departed soul rest in peace,’ Jaitley tweeted.
Prime Minister Narendra Modi earlier today expressed his condolence on the demise of Ahamed and said the latter’s empowerment of the Muslim community would be remembered.
The prime minister said the IUML leader devoted significant efforts towards Kerala’s progress, adding that his role in deepening India’s ties with West Asia was notable.
10:09 Sensex, Nifty, rupee react favourably ahead of Budget: The markets rose by over 64 points in opening trade today as investors built up positions ahead of the Union Budget, which is expected to be unveiled at 11 am.
The rupee appreciating 24 paise to 67.63 against the dollar added to the positivity.
The 30-share BSE index, which had lost 226.50 points in the previous two sessions, recovered 64.15 points, or 0.23 per cent, to 27,720.11.
Similarly, the NSE Nifty moved up 21.90 points, or 0.26 per cent, to 8,583.20.
Fresh positions created by retail and domestic institutional investors on the hopes of an investor-friendly budget lifted market sentiments.
Realty, PSU, oil and gas, capital goods, consumer durables and banking stocks were lapped up, accounting for much of the gains.
How will the markets react later in the day? Let’s wait and watch.
09:16 Speculation over Budget as Jaitley heads to Parliament: Speculation is rife that the presentation of the Union Budget will be delayed by a day after former Union minister E Ahamed died early this morning.
Traditionally, Parliament is adjourned for a day if a sitting member dies either during the inter-session period or during the session itself.
However, the Budget can be presented in the Rajya Sabha today as E Ahamed was not a member of the Upper House. The Lok Sabha can be convened to mourn the death of the MP after which it is adjourned, and the Budget can be taken to the Rajya Sabha.
According to reports, a final call on the budget will be taken by the Speaker, and a decision is expected by 10 am.
Image: Finance Minister Arun Jaitley along with his ministry officials with the Budget papers, on Wednesday morning.