File Photo of Union Finance Minister Arun Jaitley with ministers of state at North Block in New Delhi. (Source: PTI)

Finance Ministry Seeks Input From Ministries For Jaitley’s Next Budget Speech

The Finance Ministry has sought inputs from different central ministries for Arun Jaitley’s Budget Speech, which would be the last budget of the current BJP-led NDA government before the 2019 general polls.

Earlier this month, the ministry began the budgetary exercise for 2019-20. During the process, meetings will be held with ministries of steel, power, and housing and urban development to finalise revised expenditure for the current fiscal and projections for the next financial year.

The meetings are scheduled to continue till Nov. 16.

The finance ministry has requested the ministries to send material related with their departments that may merit inclusion in the Jaitley’s budget speech for 2019-20 by Nov.15, according to a communication by the finance ministry to all secretaries.

In view of the upcoming general elections, the government is likely to come out with an interim budget also referred to as Vote-on-Account.

The general budget is presented on Feb. 01.

Finance Minister Jaitley is scheduled to present his sixth consecutive Budget with 2019 being Vote-on-Account. As per practice, a Vote-on-Account or approval for essential government spending for a limited period is taken in an election year and a full-fledged budget presented by the new government.

While P Chidambaram had presented the previous UPA government’s Vote-on-Account in Feb. 2014, Jaitley presented a full budget in July that year. The Narendra Modi-led government scrapped a colonial-era tradition of presenting the budget at the end of February.

With the advancement of budget, ministries are now allocated budgeted funds from the start of the financial year beginning April.

This gives government departments more leeway to spend as well as allow companies time to adapt to business and taxation plans.

Previously, when the budget was presented at the end of February, the three-stage Parliament approval process used to get completed some time in mid-May, weeks ahead of the onset of monsoon rains.

This meant government departments would start spending on projects only from August-end or September after the monsoon season ended.