Making ends meet is the biggest challenge facing the finance minister, come 16 March.
After the UP election debacle of the Congress, the markets are not expecting any dramatic pyrotechnics in the budget, but they do expect the FM to signal a credible path to fiscal consolidation.
Firstpost spoke to several senior economists, and most of them said he needs to work both levers - revenue and expenditure.
In cutting expenditures, the axe must fall on consumption expenditure and non-merit subsidies like diesel and fertiliser, not on productive expenditure like capital investment. So will Pranab Mukherjee bite the bullet on subsidies and expand his tax net?
Here's what the Firstpost panel of economists thinks he should do.
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Updated Date: Jan 21, 2015 12:01:47 IST