The Union Cabinet is likely to consider proposal for Union Budget overhaul, including merging the Railway Budget with it and doing away with the distinction of plan and non-plan expenditure on Wednesday. Besides, the Cabinet headed by Prime Minister Narendra Modi would consider advancing the Budget Session by a month.
The Cabinet is likely to suggest a window for the Budget session and subsequently Cabinet Committee on Political Affairs (CCPA) would take final decision on the exact date for the session, sources said.
According to sources, the session could begin after Republic Day and Beating Retreat, because of traffic restrictions around Parliament. However, final decision rests with CCPA.
Early presentation of Budget will ensure that all legislative works are completed before the beginning of the new fiscal, from April, and funds allocated to various ministries start flowing in from the first quarter.
The Finance Ministry is overhauling the Budget making exercise which may see scrapping of the current practice of presenting a separate budget for the Railways as well as shifting to multi-year outcome based budgeting, sources said.
As a practice, the Budget session is convened in the third or fourth week of February, and the Union Budget presented on last day of the month. This leads to the legislative approvals taking place in two phases spread between February and May.
More so, as part of the Budget overhaul, distinction between plan and non-plan expenditure would be done away with.
Currently, the Budget document only gives details of plan and non-plan expenditure for the fiscal for which the Budget is presented and also for the previous two financial years.
Since the Finance Ministry is planning to erase distinction between ‘plan/non-plan’ expenditure and replacing it with ‘capital and revenue’ expenditure, the 2017-18 Budget would give revenue projections, expenditure targets and outcomes for next two-three years.