The core team that drafted the Budget
Finance Minister Arun Jaitley was closely assisted by a team of seven top officials in drafting the Budget for 2017-18. Anjuly Chib Duggal, Secretary in the department of financial services, is the only woman in this team. The budget process mandates that these officials severe all communication with the outside world (including their families) till the Budget is presented in the parliament.
Finance Secretary Ashok Lavasa looked after fiscal consolidation, overall expenditure, allocation for central schemes, etc. Economic Affairs Secretary Shaktikanta Das met with various stakeholders, coordinated with the RBI and developed plans to keep economy in check. Revenue Secretary Hasmukh Adhia provided inputs on tax structuring in the Budget. He was also responsible for tax reforms, compliance and ideas to improve tax revenue.
Chief Economic Adviser Arvind Subramanian managed macro-economic stability, investment and drafting of the annual Economic Survey. The development economist had worked closely with former RBI chief Raghuram Rajan at the IMF. As Secretary in the Department of Investment and Public Asset Management, Neeraj Kumar Gupta's main task was to wind up sick companies, leverage PSU assets, mobilise resources using disinvestment and encourage new investments.
The Survey reviews economic developments in a given financial year and reports performance on development projects, policy initiatives and the prospects of the economy in the short to medium term. This document is presented to both Lok Sabha and Rajya Sabha by the Finance Minister.
Financial Services Secretary Anjuli Chib Duggal handled planning and implementation of banking and insurance reforms. She also provided inputs on improving agricultural credit, financial inclusion and debt recovery. Duggal is a 1980-batch IAS officer. 1993-batch IAS officer and Joint Secretary (Budget) Prashant Goyal ensured collection and review of data. He coordinated activities among other players and also assisted the FM with the budget speech.
Designing the Budget 2017-18 was challenging because this was the first time that the Railway Budget was merged with Union Budget. This budget was the first annual policy document with no linkage to a five-year plan. These officials had to draft the coveted document faster because instead of the last day of February, the presentation was advanced by nearly a month to February 1.