Budget as scheduled is not a problem: CEC

Chief Election Commissioner S Y Quraishi does not see any problem in presentation of the general budget in Parliament on the normal schedule.

Last Updated: Dec 25, 2011, 21:27 PM IST

New Delhi: With assembly elections scheduled
to be completed by February 28 in all the states except Goa,
Chief Election Commissioner S Y Quraishi does not see any
problem in presentation of the general budget in Parliament on
the normal schedule, a view shared by Finance Minister Pranab
Mukherjee.

"Ideally, I should not comment on it on what the
government does. We did try to ... as it is we have a lot of
problems... seven to eight considerations like climate, exams,
law and order and festivals were taken into account.

"Except in Goa, we will be completing the elections in all
four states by February 28, leaving February 29 for the
budget. I have nothing to do with it. Our feeling was that if
the budget does not have anything special for Goa, then there
is no problem (about presentation of budget)," he told PTI.

However, he added that it is not as if budget has not been
postponed. "There has been a precedent once in the past of
budget having been shifted to mid-March. But, if there are no
announcements specific for Goa, there is no problem. It is for
the government," he said.

The Assembly elections for Goa are scheduled to be held on
March 3.
Meanwhile, Finance Minister Pranab Mukherjee said today
that he did not think there was any problem in presenting the
Budget for 2012-13 on schedule in the wake of the announcement
of Assembly elections in five states.

"The Union Budget is usually presented on the last date
of February. Next year being a leap year, the budget is likely
to be placed on February 29. The elections to all the state
Assemblies, except in Goa, will be over by that date. So, I
don`t think there will be any problem," he told PTI.

Quraishi was responding to a question whether
presentation of the general budget would be deferred in view
of elections.

Mukherjee, however, said the date for the presentation of
the budget will be fixed after discussions at various levels.
Former Election Commissioner G V G Krishnamurthy,
however, is of the view that there is no need for the
government to defer budget presentation in view of the
announcement of the election schedule for the five states.
He said the Model Code of Conduct applied to the states
that go to polls and not for the Centre.

"Every normal national activity must go on. The Union
Budget is a national activity and elections cannot hinder it
(its presentation). Presentation of budget is a national
function not a function of political parties," Krishnamurthy
said.

"This is stretching the code too much," he said when
asked if the model code would come in the way of presentation
of General Budgets and the Railway Budgets in Parliament.
Observers recall an instance of the Central Budget
presentation being slightly delayed when the government
accepted the advise of the Election Commission then headed by
T N Seshan in the mid-1990s to defer the presentation.

But since then there has been no no postponement of the
budget presentation because state elections were being held.

PTI