Election Commission (EC) on Thursday wrote to the Modi government asking why Budget 2017 should not be deferred, according to a report.
Election Commission (EC) on Thursday wrote to the Modi government asking why Budget 2017 should not be deferred, according to an ET Now report. The final decision on deferment of Budget date will be most likely taken tomorrow. Recently, the government replied to EC on the opposition complaint against presenting the Union Budget before Assembly elections, defending its decision to advance the budget session for the purpose.
The government is learnt to have described the Union Budget as an annual constitutional exercise covering the entire country and not just a few states, an apparent rebuttal of the opposition charge that the budget will be used to woo voters in the poll-bound states. It also said that the advancing of budget presentation was necessary as it would ensure that all budgetary provisions are allocated to different sectors from April 1, the beginning of the new fiscal.
Meanwhile, Declaration of the schedule of Assembly elections 2017 in five states triggered a controversy over the scheduled presentation of Union Budget 2017 on February 1. Opposition parties, including BJP’s Maharashtra ally Shiv Sena, have alleged that Bharatiya Janata Party would get an undue advantage by announcing the Union budget just before the elections starting February 4 in Goa and Punjab. Other three states going to the polls are Uttar Pradesh, Manipur and Uttarakhand. However, Arun Jaitley said that the date for presenting the Union Budget on February 1 was decided much in advance of the EC’s announcement of Punjab polls, dismissing Opposition allegation that the budget was scheduled keeping in view the state elections.
Also, the 92-year-old practice of presenting a separate Rail Budget is going to end from this fiscal, with the Finance Ministry accepting Railway Minister Suresh Prabhu’s proposal to merge it with the General Budget. Finance Minister Arun Jaitley has indicated that railway travel may become pricier for passengers come the next financial year.