Budget 2019: However, traditionally no major announcements are done during the interim budget as a full budget is presented by the newly elected government after Lok Sabha polls.
Budget 2019: Union Budget – the most eagerly awaited economic event will be presented in a less than a month time. This will be Prime Minister Narendra Modi-headed Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP)-led National Democratic Alliance (NDA) government’s last budget before the largest democracy in the world exercises its franchise in the Lok Sabha election 2019. The central government has already presented its final full-fledged budget in form of Budget 2018.
What is the interim budget, full Budget, vote-on-account?
As per the tradition in India, the incumbent government does not present a full-fledged Union Budget in the election year. Instead, the Finance Minister tables an interim budget during the joint sitting of Rajya Sabha and Lok Sabha in Parliament. Through the full-fledged Union Budget, the central government presents an overview of revenue and expenditure for a financial year (April 1- March 31). Budget 2019 will be the central government’s last opportunity to woo voters as PM Modi’s government is seeking a second term.
The Finance Ministry has already made it clear this year’s Union Budget will be an interim Budget. Finance Minister Arun Jaitley will neither present a full Budget or a vote-on-account, as per reports. Through the vote-on-account, the central government presents the expenditure of government accounts.
An interim budget is a quite similar to a full-budget. Through interim-budget, the central government presents expenditure for the ongoing fiscal and projections for the upcoming fiscal year. However, traditionally no major announcements are done during the interim budget as a full budget is presented by the newly elected government after Lok Sabha polls. However, in the interim budget, the central government does lay out its budget estimate, the revised estimate of fiscal deficit.
Political agenda in the interim budgets
In recent times, the interim budgets have played a key role for the government to list out its achievements in order to make a fervent appeal to the electorate. According to political analyst Priya Ranjan Dash, “As a matter of propriety, the incumbent government at the end of its tenure presents an interim budget for three to four months with a view to keeping the government running. The outgoing government does not want to commit the incoming government to a full-budget.” “Generally, the incumbent government does not present essentially an expenditure budget. In an interim budget or vote-on-account no fresh programme, schemes are included normally. Similarly, on the revenue side of the budget, no tax proposals are made. In case of interim budget or vote-on-account, no finance bill is presented along with,” Dash told Financial Express Online.
“However, it has become a practice for the incumbent government to use vote-on-account or interim budget as a manifesto. Finance Ministers in recent decades during interim budgets talked about new schemes without backing it up with actual expenditure. The main objective of such declaration is just to woo the voters,” Dash added.
In 1995-96 interim budget, the then Finance Minister Manmohan Singh has not only given details of the works done by PV Narasimha Rao government but also made allegorical reference to the ‘friendly hand’. In 2009, former Finance Minister Pranab Mukherjee talked about the Lok Sabha polls and again reminded the voters of ‘helping hand’. Former Union Minister P. Chidambaram in 2014 concluded his budget speech by exuding confidence that voters would keep their faith in “a hand”.
From BJP’s point of view, Jaswant Singh got the opportunity to present the Vajpayee government’s interim budget in 2005. Apart from speaking on the achievements of the BJP government, he also talked about the unfinished works of the ruling dispensation.
It will be interesting to hear what FM Jaitley has to say in his sixth Union Budget speech.