Representative Image. Photograph:( PTI )
India had been following a practice of presenting the Budget on last working day of February.
The Modi government will present the last budget of the current tenure on Friday. With the election around the corner, the budget is expected to be an interim one and present the outline for the next financial year beginning April 1.
In an election year, the incumbent government usually presents vote-on-account in Parliament which enables the government machinery to meet important expenses of administration, like salaries etc. The vote-on-account is usually for a period of three-four months and is meant to provide a smooth transition for the next government; it gives time to Parliament when it reconstitutes after the elections to discuss and pass the full Budget and allocate money accordingly.
The Modi government has indicated that this year's budget will not be a vote-on-account but an interim one. While the vote-on-account deals only with the expenditure side of the budget, an interim budget has both expenditure and receipts and gives the complete financial statement, much like a full budget.
India had been following a practice of presenting the budget on last working day of February. The Modi government changed that practice in 2017 and started presenting the budget on February 1. The move was challenged in the Supreme Court, but the court refused to intervene.
The budget session of Parliament began on January 31 and will go on till February 13. President Ram Nath Kovind delivered the joint sitting of the two Houses on January 31.
This year's interim Budget is going to be significant, according to a Zee Business channel report. Modi-led government could change the financial year cycle from April-March to January-December, thereby changing the 152-year long tradition that commenced in 1867. The report, citing sources, said that from 2020, the fiscal year will begin on January 1 and end on December 31, adding that the date for budget session of Parliament will also be changed.