India: Government to present budget on February 1
Sweeping aside objections raised by opposition parties, the government will present the Union Budget 2017-18 on February 1 but will refrain from making any announcements pertaining to poll-bound states.
The government has before the Election Commission vehemently defended its move to advance budget presentation by a month saying it had made clear its intention on this way back in September 2016 so as to help begin the investment cycle right from the first day of the new fiscal, April 1. "Budget presentation on February 1 is a done deal, we will not make any specific announcement for poll-bound states," a top source said.
Opposition parties including Congress and TMC had approached the Election Commission against presentation of the budget just hours before the first of the five states goes to poll on February 4.
But the government stoutly defended the move. The source said that in view of the model code of conduct, the budget will not make any announces related to poll-bound states of Punjab, Uttar Pradesh, Uttarakhand, Goa and Manipur.
According to the scheme drawn, the first part of the budget session of Parliament will start on January 31 with President Pranab Mukherjee's address and tabling of the economic survey, which sets the scene for finance minister Arun Jaitley's fourth annual budget. The budget will be presented the next day. The cabinet had in September last year decided to scrap nearly century-long practice of having a separate railway budget and instead merged it with the general budget.
It had also decided to scrap a distinction between plan and non-plan expenditures.