M Veerappa Moily said he was for changing financial year to January-December (File)
The chairman of parliamentary panel on finance, M Veerappa Moily, today said he was for changing the financial year to January-December, but the government should not rush the process lest it disrupt the economy.
Finance Minister Arun Jaitley on Friday informed Parliament that the government was considering changing financial year to January-December from April-March.
The present financial year (April 1 to March 31) was adopted by the Government of India in 1867 principally to align the Indian financial year with that of the British government.
Prior to 1867, the financial year in India used to commence on May 1 of the current year to April 30 of the following calendar year.
Talking to PTI, Mr Moily said the government could announce changing the financial year in Budget in February and accordingly the next Budget presentation date could be adjusted.
There are reports that government may advance the Budget presentation to November from February.
"The issue of changing financial year was examined by many
committees since pre-Independence days. It is not a new thinking.
"I am also for it, but don't hurry up. Take states opinion. Only three states, Madhya Pradesh, Telangana and Andhra Pradesh have given opinion and that too unofficially," said Mr Moily, the Chairman of Standing Committee on Finance and senior Congress leader.
Among others, the panel had looked into budgetary reforms including merger of railway budget with General Budget.
The former Union minister and chairman of 2nd Administrative Reforms Commission said that the change in financial year should be done because "April-March is not rooted in Indian culture and ethos. It is absolutely British".
Mr Moily said several committees have gone into the issue, however the Administrative Reforms Commission headed by him refrained from getting into because earlier suggestions for change in fiscal year were never accepted by the government.
Giving rationale for aligning the fiscal year with calender year, he said: "We are in global economy. Many of the countries have adopted calender year. We should adopt but not arbitrarily".
After Prime Minister Narendra Modi expressed desire to align the financial year with the calendar year, the government had last year appointed a committee to study the feasibility of shifting the financial year to January 1.
The panel headed by Shankar Acharya submitted its report to the Finance Minister in December.
"Let them (the government) announce in the budget the change in fiscal year to January-December and implement from next year," Mr Moily said.
Mr Moily sees that abrupt change in the accounting year may lead to disruption in the economy as tax laws will have to be amended and also accounting procedures.
He also said the Congress would support change in the year, but the government should do it methodologically and consult all states.