To ensure speedier implementation of projects and schemes, the government on Wednesday decided to advance the presentation of Union budget by about a month. Prime Minister Narendra Modi made the announcement after chairing his 16th interaction through ‘Pragati’ in the national capital. The prime minister urged all states to align their plans with Budget advancement being done by the Centre to take maximum advantage.
India follows the April 1-March 31 financial year. Most countries follow a January-December fiscal year.
While the Budget is presented at the end of February, it is passed by both the Houses of Parliament only by mid-May. The Budget, next year, will be presented in January instead of February.
Both houses of Parliament clear the appropriation bill only in the second half of the budget session, forcing the government to seek Parliament’s approval through a vote on account in March to withdraw money from the consolidated fund of India for two to three months to meet regular expenditure.
The move could help government prepare for the implementation of the goods and services tax (GST), scheduled to be rolled out from 1 April.
Earlier, considering the proposal by Railway Minister Suresh Prabhu, the government had abolished railway budget and merged it with Union budget itself.
The previous NDA government, under prime minister Atal Bihari Vajpayee in 2001, had changed the time of presenting the budget to 11am, from the British era practice of presenting it at 5pm.