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What is Union Budget?

Updated on Saturday, February 13, 2010, 17:40 Print Email
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The dictionary meaning of budget is a systematic plan for the expenditure of a usually fixed resource during a given period.

Thus, Union Budget, which is a yearly affair, is a comprehensive display of the Government’s finances. It is the most significant economic and financial event in India. The Finance Minister puts down a report that contains Government of India’s revenue and expenditure for one fiscal year. The fiscal year runs from April 01 to March 31.

The Union budget is preceded by an Economic Survey which outlines the broad direction of the budget and the economic performance of the country.

The Budget is the most extensive account of the Government`s finances, in which revenues from all sources and expenses of all activities undertaken are aggregated. It comprises the revenue budget and the capital budget. It also contains estimates for the next fiscal year called budgeted estimates.

Barring a few exceptions -- like elections – Finance Minister presents the annual Union Budget in the Parliament on the last working day of February. The budget has to be passed by the Lok Sabha before it can come into effect on April 01.

What is revenue budget?

The revenue budget consists of revenue receipts of the government (revenues from tax and other sources) and the expenditure met from these revenues.

Revenue receipts are divided into tax and non-tax revenue. Tax revenues are made up of taxes such as income tax, corporate tax, excise, customs and other duties which the government levies. Non-tax revenue consist of interest and dividend on investments made by government, fees and other receipts for services rendered by Government.

Revenue expenditure is the payment incurred for the normal day-to-day running of government departments and various services that it offers to its citizens. The government also has other expenditure like servicing interest on its borrowings, subsidies, etc.

Usually, expenditure that does not result in the creation of assets, and grants given to state governments and other parties are revenue expenditures.

However, all grants given to state governments and other parties are also clubbed under revenue expenditure, although some of them may go into the creation of assets.

The difference between revenue receipts and revenue expenditure is usually negative. This means that the government spends more than it earns. This difference is called the revenue deficit.

What is a capital budget?

It consists of capital receipts and payments. The main items of capital receipts are loans raised by Government from public which are called Market Loans, borrowings by Government from Reserve Bank and other parties through sale of Treasury Bills, loans received from foreign Governments and bodies and recoveries of loans granted by Central Government to State and Union Territory Governments and other parties.

Capital payments consist of capital expenditure on acquisition of assets like land, buildings, machinery, equipment, as also investments in shares, etc., and loans and advances granted by Central Government to State and Union Territory Governments, Government companies, Corporations and other parties.

Capital Budget also incorporates transactions in the Public Account.

What are direct taxes?

These are the taxes that are levied on the income of individuals or organisations. Income tax, corporate tax, inheritance tax are some examples of direct taxation.

Income tax is the tax levied on individual income from various sources like salaries, investments, interest etc.

Corporate tax is the tax paid by companies or firms on the incomes they earn.

What are indirect taxes?

These are the taxes paid by consumers when they buy goods and services. These include excise and customs duties.

Customs duty is the charge levied when goods are imported into the country, and is paid by the importer or exporter.

Excise duty is a levy paid by the manufacturer on items manufactured within the country.

These charges are passed on to the consumer.

What is plan and non-plan expenditure?

There are two components of expenditure - plan and non-plan.

Of these, plan expenditures are estimated after discussions between each of the ministries concerned and the Planning Commission. Plan expenditure forms a sizeable proportion of the total expenditure of the Central Government. The Demands for Grants of the various Ministries show the Plan expenditure under each head separately from the Non-Plan expenditure.

Non-plan revenue expenditure is accounted for by interest payments, subsidies (mainly on food and fertilisers), wage and salary payments to government employees, grants to States and Union Territories governments, pensions, police, economic services in various sectors, other general services such as tax collection, social services, and grants to foreign governments.

Non-plan capital expenditure mainly includes defence, loans to public enterprises, loans to States, Union Territories and foreign governments.

What is the Central Plan Outlay?

It is the division of monetary resources among the different sectors in the economy and the ministries of the government.

What is fiscal policy? Fiscal policy is a change in government spending or taxing designed to influence economic activity. These changes are designed to control the level of aggregate demand in the economy. Governments usually bring about changes in taxation, volume of spending, and size of the budget deficit or surplus to affect public expenditure.

What is a fiscal deficit?

This is the gap between the government`s total spending and the sum of its revenue receipts and non-debt capital receipts. It represents the total amount of borrowed funds required by the government to completely meet its expenditure.

What is the Finance Bill?

The proposals of the Government for levy of new taxes, modification of the existing tax structure or continuance of the existing tax structure beyond the period approved by Parliament are submitted to Parliament through the Finance Bill.

The Budget documents presented in terms of the Constitution have to fulfil certain legal and procedural requirements and hence may not by themselves give a clear indication of the major features of the Budget.

To facilitate an easy comprehension of the Budget, certain explanatory documents are presented along with the Budget.

Zeebiz Bureau
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