- Arun Jaitley may present the interim budget on February 1
- Key announcements for farmers and the middle class expected, sources said
- Till 2016, Budget used to be presented on last working day of February
Amid speculation that Finance Minister Arun Jaitley, who is in the US for treatment, might not be able to present the budget this year, top government sources have told NDTV that he will return to present the interim budget on February 1.
The 66-year-old has gone to the US for a "regular medical check-up" following a kidney transplant last year. The medical trip triggered questions whether he will be able to present the budget, especially when the national election is due in a few months.
The government is likely to make a departure from the norm in the interim budget to announce some important decisions.
There could be key announcements for farmers and the middle class. Sources say that the agriculture sector can expect schemes that are aimed at unburdening farmers and increasing their incomes. The government is reportedly planning to increase the income tax exemption limit.
Till 2016, the Union Budget used to be presented on the last working day of February, but Finance Minister Arun Jaitley changed that tradition in 2017 when the budget was tabled on February 1.
An interim budget covers a smaller period of time, usually a few months. But like a full budget, it includes details of the government's finances in the past year, as well as estimates of its expenditure in the coming months till election. An interim budget is followed by another budget by the new government.
This budget will be the last before the Lok Sabha polls. The parliament will meet from January 31 to February 13 for the budget session.
The brief session will have 10 sittings and the government is expected to make another push for getting the Triple Talaq bill passed in the Rajya Sabha, where it is pending.