Budget session of Parliament likely to begin on January 31


The CCPA, headed by Home Minister Rajnath Singh, met here and made these recommendations to President Pranab Mukherjee. Parliamentary Affairs Minister Ananth Kumar, Law Minister Ravi Shankar Prasad and Minister of State for Parliamentary Affairs Mukhtar Abbas Naqvi also attended the meeting.

As part of a major overhaul of the budget process, the Cabinet Committee on Parliamentary Affairs (CCPA) today recommended advancing the holding of the Budget Session from January 31 followed by the presentation of the Union Budget on February 1.

Significance of the Step

  • Early presentation of the Budget would mean that the entire exercise is over by March 31 and expenditure as well as tax proposals will come into effect right from the beginning of the new fiscal, thereby ensuring better implementation.
  • Presenting the budget earlier is expected to help initiate revenue mobilisation and capital expenditure measures right from the beginning of the fiscal year.
  • This is a second major shift in the schedule of the budget by an NDA government. The previous NDA government, under prime minister Atal Behari Vajpayee in 2001, had changed the time of presenting the budget to 11am, from the British era practice of presenting it at 5pm.

New System

  • Both the address of the President and tabling of the Economic Survey are likely to take place on January 31. The first phase of the Budget Session will run till February 9.
  • For the first time Union Finance Minister will present the combined Union budget – including allocations for the railways and ending a 92-year-old tradition of presenting a separate railway budget – on February 1.

Old Practice

  • As per the earlier practice, the budgetary exercise was completed only by mid-May and with the monsoon arriving in June, most of the schemes and spendings by states did not take off until October, leaving just half-a-year for their implementation.
  • Earlier, the budget session used to begin in the last week of February and run till mid-May with a recess in between.
  • Parliament passes the budget through a two-stage process. A vote on account is passed in March to meet necessary expenses on employees’ salaries and other costs for two to three months.
  • The finance bill, which contains tax changes, and the demands and appropriation bill, which spells out full year expenditure details, are passed in May. Political pressures often force tax changes proposed in February during the finance bill’s passage in May.

The Development

In September last year, ending a nearly a century-long practice, the Cabinet had decided to scrap a separate budget for the railways and merge it with the General Budget, presentation of which was decided to be advanced to spur spending and boost the economy.

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