Modi government has become famous for overhauling government machinery and their actions have occasionally drawn the ire from opposition parties who have constantly accused Modi for changing established norms for personal benefit.
Undeterred by these accusations the Finance Ministry headed by Mr. Arun Jaitley has announced to advance the date of presenting Union Budget to January.
Union Budget for the longest time has been presented on the last day of February.
The Union Budget is usually followed by the rail budget but the government is planning to shift the budget a month ahead so as to complete the budget exercise before March 31st and the beginning of a new fiscal year.
This will make the budgetary procedures more transparent and easier to implement.
Finance Ministry is undergoing an overhaul where fruitless and time-consuming exercises are being done away with says the finance Minister.
What are the changes being made?
With the passing of GST Bill, both the Union and the Rail budget will see massive change in proposals regarding indirect taxes.
- Indirect taxes will drastically be reduced with little mention of excise duties, service taxes and cesses individually since all of it will be incorporated in the Goods and Services Tax (GST).
- Planned and non-planned expenditure will be substituted by Capital and Revenue expenditure.
- Budget exercise will take place in March as opposed to the current practice of the exercise being divided into two phases spread between February and May.
- The GST will be separately handled by the GST Council which will consist of finance representatives from all 29 states.
How will the procedure change?
No significant changes will occur in the parliamentary procedure except that the timeline will be altered.
- The parliamentary approval that takes place between February and May will now occur in February-March.
- Appropriation Bill which lists the expenditure and distribution of the budget will occur before March 31 .
- The pre-budget meetings will take place in September-October rather than November-December.
- Article 112 that deals with the presentation of both budgets and the date of presentation will therefore undergo a change.
A committee has been established to examine the feasibility of this initiative taken by the NDA government.
This attempt by the government has so far been positively received by finance critics but the final verdict is yet to come, but if implemented it will give more time to individuals and companies to firm up savings and plan their tax pay outs.
Tax payers will get two months in advance to adjust personal finances.
Opposition has already begun to criticize it.
“What is the logic behind changing a time-tested method? If the budget is presented in January, the finances of the country will not be clear by then,” said Veerappa Moily, the Congress’s Lok Sabha MP.
But then haters gonna hate! Here’s to wishing the outcome benefits the country!
Views presented in the article are those of the author and not of ED.