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India budget expected to mix populism, prudence before 2024 polls

Modi government to unveil package Wednesday, laying groundwork for next 25 years

Workers build a flyover in Kolkata: Some economists expect India's upcoming budget to include higher capital outlays to benefit employment-generating sectors like construction.   © Reuters

NEW DELHI -- Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi's government on Wednesday will present its last full annual budget before next year's general election, likely walking a tightrope between fiscal prudence and spending that would appeal to voters.

Economists say Modi's finance minister, Nirmala Sitharaman, could again look to fuel growth and employment by increasing capital expenditures -- money spent to create long-term assets such as railways, roads, power infrastructure, telecommunications networks and affordable housing. In the last budget, such spending rose 35.4% to 7.5 trillion rupees (about $100 billion at that time).

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