Finance Ministry is gearing up to present the Budget for next fiscal around February 1, advancing the scheduled date by a month so as to complete the entire process by March 31, and preparations for it are “very much under control”, says a top official.
“There are three major changes that we are undertaking for the next year (Budget). First presentation of Budget is advanced by about a month. We expect Budget to be presented around February 1,” Economic Affairs Secretary Shaktikanta Das said in an interview to DD News.
Besides, doing away with the plan and non-plan expenditure and replacing it with the new classification would be revenue and expenditure, he said, adding that the third is merger of Railway Budget with the General Budget.
The pre-Budget meetings for the current year’s for revised expenditure estimates as well as for the next Budget’s estimates have already started, he said.
“Revenue Department has also started the pre-budget consultations with the various stakeholders and Finance Minister’s consultation with major stakeholders are also planned to be held in advance,” Das said.
“So, all the preparation has been roughly advanced by about a month. Preparations are very much under control and we will be able to present the Budget around February 1,” he said.
The idea, he added, is to get the Budget passed by Parliament along with Appropriation Bill and the Finance Bill by the end of March as this would ensure implementation of the Budget proposals from April 1.
On fiscal deficit hitting 20-year high of 83.9 per cent of the Budget estimate, Das said, typically it looks very high in the first half of the year because revenues start coming in the second half of the year.
“Expenditures are evenly paced all through the year. So there is a mismatch between revenues and expenditure in the first. As we proceed in the second half revenue starts coming in and expenditure gets evened out. Therefore, fiscal deficit target of 3.5 per cent for the current fiscal will be met,” he said.
For the current fiscal, he said, the growth would be upwards of 7.6 per cent as agriculture sector has shown improvement.