Union Budget is an annual financial statement of estimated receipts and expenditures of Government of India in respect of each financial year. This year, the government has decided to merge Rail Budget with General Budget. Finance Minister Arun Jaitley will present the Union Budget 2017-18 in Parliament on February 1, 2017. Here's a look at how Union Budget is prepared in India:
The Budget is prepared through a calculative process between the Finance Ministry and the spending ministries. The Finance Ministry issues guidelines or communicating instructions to spending ministries while spending ministries plan and present requests for Budget allocation.
Budget Circular is issued in the month of September during the Budget cycle. It marks the beginning of the Budget process. It guides ministries and departments for preparing revised estimates (for the past year) and Budget Estimates (for the coming year).
The finance minister and other officials participate in 'halwa ceremony', which marks the process of printing documents for the Budget. After the dish is served, a large number of officials and support staff, who are directly associated with the Budget-making and -printing process, are required to stay in the ministry and remain cut off from their families till the presentation of the Budget by the finance minister in Parliament.
The entire Budget-making processes commences months ago when the finance ministry seeks estimates from various ministries. After ministries and departments send in their demands, extensive consultations are held between Union ministries and the Finance Ministry's Department of Expenditure. Also, the Department of Economic Affairs and the Department of Revenue meet stakeholders - farmers, businessmen, economists etc. - to take their views.
Before presentation of the Budget, President's recommendation is obtained under Article 117(1) and 117(3) for introduction and consideration in the lower house of Parliament. After President's recommendation, the Budget is then laid before the Lok Sabha by the finance minister with the "Budget speech". It is not discussed in the Lok Sabha on that day.
The Finance Bill, containing provisions for giving effect to financial proposals of government, is introduced immediately after the presentation of Budget. The introduction of the Bill cannot be opposed. This completes the budgetary process.
Why was the budgetary process undertaken twice in 2014? In an election year, the Budgets may be presented twice: first to secure a Vote on Account for a few months, and later in full.