The most significant budget by the Narendra Modi government will be presented on February 1, 2017. The Union Budget 2017 will mark the end of the colonial practice of presenting the Railway Budget in advance and will play a significant role in defining the roadmap ahead. Budget 2017, which will be presented by Finance Minister Arun Jaitley, plays a more important role in the backdrop of currency demonetisation, which caused various disruptions in the economic growth. This budget will also part ways from the traditional method of presenting the plan and non-plan expenditure classification and will instead provide a clear line between the recurrent spending and the productive spending. While the budget will be submitted for the people of the country, it is important to know how the Union Budget is made. There are various steps involved in the preparation and presentation of the Union Budget.
1. The initial process
The budget that is presented in February every year requires a lot of research. The preparation of Union Budget begins in August or September when all the stakeholders are informed, and the notification of the budget is issued. This is why the announcement of combining the Railway Budget with the Fiscal Budget was announced in September 2016.
2. Gathering Information
Once the timeline is set with a proper outline of the Budget, the Finance Ministry begins asking other ministers for their receipts and their financial requirements for the upcoming fiscal year. A broad overall goal for the different sectors of the government is decided by the different departments of the Finance Ministry. In the period where the future needs are predicted, the chief economic adviser in the Finance Ministry reviews the financial year gone by and presents an economic survey, which is released one day before the presentation of budget in Parliament. View and advise of leading stakeholders including industry, representatives of workers, farmers etc. and other economists is solicited and deliberations are held in this stage of information gathering. Union Budget 2017 on February 1: Top 3 significant tax changes expected from Arun Jaitley in this Budget
3. Preparation of the Union Budget
The preparation of union budget requires a close association of the Finance Ministry with the Prime Minister’s Office. Once the information received from various surveys and studies in the previous steps are analysed, the policy for the budget is made. This process is highly confidential and the Finance Ministry is made out of bounds for journalists when this process is being executed. The process usually begins in December when the area around the office of Finance Ministry is put under close surveillance and the officials are placed in quarantine a week in advance.
4. Printing of the Budget
Various stories are surrounding the printing of the Budget papers. The printing of the union budget begins fifteen days before the official presentation. A ritual ‘halwa ceremony’ is conducted to mark the beginning of the printing process where in ‘halwa’ is prepared in a big ‘kadhai’ (large frying pot) and served to the entire staff in the ministry. The ‘halwa ceremony’ was conducted on January 19, 2017, as the printing of the budget papers began. Various staff of the ministry has to stay back at the ministry after the halwa ceremony, marking complete isolation from their friends and family until the presentation of budget by the Finance Minister in Lok Sabha.
5. Presenting the Union Budget 2017
The union budget is presented by the finance minister and his team in the Lok Sabha every year. The members of the parliament are given a gist of the budget that is to be presented. This is followed by the actual presentation where the finance minister announces the various allocations. This revelation is made in the Lok Sabha, which is the house of the people, instead of the Rajya Sabha as the budget is also considered as a money bill. Money bills cannot be passed or stalled by the Rajya Sabha and the house if state representatives can merely make amendments to the bills. (Photo Credits: Jyoti Desale Pashte).