Union Budget 2023-24: The Indian Union Budget is prepared by the Ministry of Finance in consultation with Niti Aayog and other concerned ministries. It takes months to execute these tasks, and the budget-making activity usually begins in August-September, which is six months prior to the date of its presentation. Also, the Budget division of the department of economic affairs (DEA) in the finance ministry is the nodal body responsible for producing the Budget.
After presentation, the budget needs to be passed by both houses of Parliament before the start of the financial year, that is, April 1. The budget is presented by the Finance Minister on February 1. Nirmala Sitharaman will present her fifth straight Union Budget for fiscal year 2023–24 (April 2023 to March 2024).
Here’s all you need to know about the budget-making process:
Issue of Circular
The Finance Ministry issues a circular to all the ministries, states, Union territories, and autonomous bodies asking them to prepare estimates for the coming year. This circular consists of skeleton forms along with requisite guidelines based on which ministries present their demands.
Estimates of Revenue & Expenditure
The finance ministry analyses the data and compares the estimates of revenue and expenditure to find out the overall budget deficit. In the next step, the Centre consults the Chief Economic Advisor and determines the optimal level of borrowing required by the government to meet the deficit.
After considering all recommendations, the finance minister takes a call on revenue allocations to various departments for their future expenditures. In the event of a disagreement over the allocation of funds, the finance ministry consults with the Union Cabinet or the Prime Minister before proceeding.
The finance minister then holds pre-Budget meetings with various stakeholders to know about their proposals and demands. These stakeholders include state representatives, bankers, agriculturists, economists, and trade unions.
Final Call on Demands
Once the pre-Budget consultations are done, the finance minister takes the final call on demands and it is also discussed with the Prime Minister before finalisation.
Halwa Ceremony and Printing of the Budget
To mark the final stage of the Union Budget-making process, the government follows an annual tradition of hosting a halwa ceremony. The ceremony marks the beginning of the printing of Budget documents after ‘halwa’ is served to the entire staff in the finance ministry. Last year, sweets were provided to core staff due to “lock-in" at their workplace instead of Halwa ceremony because of the pandemic and health safety concerns. To main ..
Finally, the Union Budget is presented in the Lok Sabha by the Finance Minister. Until 2016, it was presented on the last day of February. However, from 2017 the Budget has been presented on February 1 each year.
The general public and Members of Parliament (MPs) can easily access all Budget-related documents on the “Union Budget Mobile App", which was launched by FM Nirmala Sitharaman on 23 January 2021.
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