New Delhi: With the Election Commission (EC) giving its nod, the Union cabinet is likely to consider fixing February 1 as the day of budget presentation in its meeting on Wednesday.
EC’s nod was required to ensure that budget is not presented in the middle of upcoming polls in five states of UP, Punjab, Uttarakhand, Goa and Manipur.
Sources said the cabinet is likely to meet on Wednesday to decide on the date for presentation of Union budget 2017-18 by finance minister Arun Jaitley.
The Union Cabinet on September 21 had in-principle decided to end the colonial-era tradition of presenting the Union budget on last day of February and advance it by about a month to help complete the legislative approval for annual spending plans and tax proposals before start of the new financial year on April 1.
“The reason we wanted to advance the date was that we want the entire budgetary exercise to be over and the Finance Bill to be passed and implemented from April 1 onwards rather than June because then the monsoon sets in and effectively, the expenditures start in October,” Mr Jaitley had stated last week.
Stating that the government wants expenditure to start in April itself, he had said there are five state Assembly elections lined up in 2017. “So, we are just trying to co-ordinate that you do not have to announce the Budget bang in the middle of an election date. It should be reasonably before that or after that,” he had said.
The finance ministry had proposed that the budget be presented on February 1 and the entire exercise be completed by March 24. It wanted the budget session to begin before January 25 and go in for a three-week recess sometime in February.