Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Wednesday cleared the proposal for early budget presentation to be held in the first week of February. Advancing the budget would mean getting the presidential nod a day before the new financial year (2017-18) begins.
The PM has set March 30 as the date of parliament approval for the general budget. After the budget is presented in the first week of February, the House is likely to be adjourned for three weeks. During the time, the 24 departmental standing committees of the parliament will examine the Demand for Grants and submit their reports.
When the parliament meets again in the first week of March, the Lok Sabha will be provided two weeks for a detailed discussion, following which a vote will be held for the Finance Bill to be passed.
The aim is to provide sufficient time, at least a week, for the passage of the Bill in the Rajya Sabha. The budget is currently presented in the last week of February, and is passed by May. The departments therefore lose 2-3 months in implementing the new outlays.
Last week, the proposal for advancing the budget presentation received a favourable response from the Central Board of Direct Taxes (CBDT). Shifting the budget presentation to January will bring in more efficiency, CBDT head Rani Singh Nair had said.
"If you have the budget...in January, you get President assent by March 31. The financial year starts from April 1. So from the first day of financial year, outlays will be in place, expenditures will be allocated and therefore we will not lose two/three months of financial year in budget process. It will bring in more efficiency in budget making," Nair had said.
The CBDT board, the decision-making body in matters of income and corporate taxes, is reportedly planning to start pre-budget meetings with departments next month onward, instead of holding the consultations until November, which has traditionally been followed until now.