Budget 2018: Union Minister Finance Minister Arun Jaitley will present Budget 2018 on February 1.The Modi government’s fifth will be key as this will be his full budget before Lok Sabha 2019. Generally the last full Budget presented in an election year witnesses a hike in the government’s expenditure. This was witnessed before the last two Lok Sabha polls in 2008-09 and 2013-14. However, in budget 2018, the Modi government might face the expenditure crunch. The expenditure spending is restricted and given the uncertainty over revenue mainly because of downward GST collections and rising global crude oil prices.
According to reports, figures have shown that the average rate of increase of Congress-led UPA government’s expenditure in 2011-12 and 2012-13 was 8.5 per cent. Notably, the government’s expenditure for 2009-10 was estimated at Rs 10.2 lakh crore, 15.9 per cent higher than the previous year. During the tenure of the incumbent Modi government, total expenditure increased at an average rate of 8.4 per cent from 2014 to 2018 . According to expert, the central government may have a window of over 4-7 percentage points to increase its total expenditure.
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FM Jaitley has indicated that this time, the government will focus on agriculture in Budget 2018. “We see in some places the problem of falling prices because of higher production. Farmers are not getting the right price for their produce. Many steps have been taken in the last few years to take farmers out of this situation. There has been some positive impact,” FM Jaitley said on Sunday.
“It makes sense for the governments to inflate the previous year’s Budget before the election years. The interim Budget in a election year is the operative Budget, the Vote on Account is formulated for 3-6 months and these are based on the previous year’s overstated Budget. It’s the perfectly rational thing to do. The government builds up base for next year with inflated expenditure and revenue forecast before the election year, whereas the actual expenditure is lower. This is standard,” said Pronab Sen, former chief statistician of India and country director for IGC’s India Central Programme.
The Finance Ministry of India presents the Economic Survey in the parliament every year, just before the Union Budget. It is the ministry’s view on the annual economic development of the country. A flagship annual document of the Ministry of Finance, Government of India, Economic Survey reviews the developments in the Indian economy over the previous 12 months, summarizes the performance on major development programs, and highlights the policy initiatives of the government and the prospects of the economy in the short to medium term. This document is presented to both houses of Parliament during the Budget Session. This year the Modi government will present the economic survey on January 29.
The Budget Session of Parliament is set to commence on January 29. President Ram Nath Kovind will address the joint sitting of the two Houses on January 29. The first phase of the session will be from January 29 to February 9. After a recess, Parliament will meet again from March 5 to April 6. There will be a recess between the session so that the department-related standing committees can clear the budgetary proposals related to their respective ministries.