Why Was Budget Presentation Date Changed To February 1?

Why Was Budget Presentation Date Changed To February 1?

Finance minister Nirmala Sitharaman will present the Union Budget on February 1.

In 10 days, Union Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman will present the interim Union Budget 2024 for the coming fiscal year. Since this is an election year – and General Elections are months away – a full-fledged budget won’t be presented on February 1. An interim budget won’t include any major policy changes, and the proper financial document will be presented after the election results are announced. The Union Budget is being presented on the first day of February for many years, but earlier, the Budget presentation was done around February 28 (or 29 in a leap year). Know why the date was changed.

When was the date of Budget presentation changed?

The custom was changed in 2017, when Arun Jaitley was the finance minister. The practice continued even during the pandemic, and the budget was presented on February 1 in 2021.

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A day before the budget presentation, the government presents the economic survey, which is a report card of the economic situation of the country and sets the scene for the budget.

The budget is presented during the Budget Session of Parliament, which is conventionally held in two parts. The first part usually starts on January 31.

Why was the date of Budget presentation changed?

The government had argued that it by changing the date, it will get more time to prepare for new policies and changes for the coming financial year, which begins from April 1.

The usual practice of unveiling the Union Budget on the last working day of February delayed the whole process as it was actually passed after much beyond beginning the new financial year.

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A petition was moved in the Supreme Court against the change in date, but the court had rejected it. The petitioner, an advocate named ML Sharma, had argued that the Centre could seek to influence the outcome of the polls with populist spending promises. But the court today said that the Union Budget has “nothing to do with states ” and stressed that elections in states are held so often that they cannot impede the work of the Centre.

The timing too was changed

It is also to be noted that the Union Budget was presented at 5pm on the last working day of February until 1999, a practice that continued from the British era. The timing was changed to 11am in 1999 by then finance minister Yashwant Sinha.

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