Zee Media Bureau
New Delhi: The Union Cabinet headed by Prime Minister Narendra Modi is likely to meet on Wednesday or Thursday to decide on the date for Finance Minister Arun Jaitley to present the budget for 2017-18.
The Cabinet is likely to consider this week fixing February 1 as date of presentation of the Budget.
As against the convention of presenting the Budget on February last day every year over the decades, the central government wants to present it earlier to ensure the passage of the finance bill in Parliament so that its proposals can be implemented from Apirl 1, when the next fiscal (2017-18) year begins.
Though the legislative assembly elections in phases are due early 2017 in Uttar Pradesh, Uttarakhand, Goa, Punjab and Manipur, the poll panel has not announced the dates.
Having decided to advance the budget presentation by a month, the government took the line that it should not be presented in the middle of Assembly poll in Uttar Pradesh, Punjab, Uttarakhand, Goa and Manipur.
So, it consulted the Election Commission, which has concurred with the finance ministry's view that it is an annual financial statement and can come anytime of the government's choice, officials said.
The Cabinet on September 21 had in-principle decided to end the colonial-era tradition of presenting the Union Budget on last day of February and advance it by about a month to help complete the legislative approval for annual spending plans and tax proposals before beginning of the new financial year on April 1.
Stating that the government wants expenditure to start in April itself, he had said there are five state Assembly elections lined up in 2017.
The finance ministry had been proposing that the Budget presentation be fixed for February 1 and the entire exercise be completed by March 24.
It wanted the Budget Session of Parliament to begin before January 25 and go in for a three-week break between February 10-15 before reconvening between March 10-15 to complete the legislative exercise.
With Agency Inputs