Today, everyone, from big business leaders to regular people, will be watching Union Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman as she presents the Interim Budget in Parliament. Salaried taxpayers hope for changes in income tax rates and more deductions.

Here are the main points in this big story:

  1. Ms Sitharaman will present her sixth budget, matching former Prime Minister Morarji Desai’s record. Desai had presented five yearly budgets and one interim budget from 1959 to 1964.
  2. She holds the record for the longest Budget speech – 2 hours and 42 minutes – given in 2020.
  3. This Interim Budget comes as Lok Sabha elections are due in April-May. The new government will present the full Budget.
  4. Prime Minister Narendra Modi is confident about winning a third term and promises a full budget by a BJP-led government after the elections.
  5. Experts think Ms Sitharaman and the BJP need to balance pleasing voters and managing the country’s finances.
  6. Since it’s an interim budget, major changes might not happen, but people still hope for something significant.
  7. Salaried taxpayers want changes in income tax rates and higher deductions.
  8. Small businesses hope for easier regulations, less paperwork, and better access to loans.
  9. President Droupadi Murmu promised to fulfill the dreams of all citizens in her speech to Parliament.

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10. Opposition members criticize the government, saying important issues like income inequality, unemployment, and rising prices haven’t been tackled.