Modi govt kickstarts process of making Budget 2019, the last one before crucial Lok Sabha elections : 04-12-2018

The BJP-led NDA government on Monday officially kickstarted the making of the Union budget, the last one before the general elections next year.

This budget, which will be an interim one, is crucial for the government as it offers one last opportunity to announce some popular measures ahead of the elections, where Prime Minister Narendra Modi will seek a second term.

Two finance ministry officials confirmed to that the budget-making process has officially started and restrictions on the movement of people around the finance ministry have been put in place.

“Security has been beefed up around the ministry and media has been barred from entering the offices of the finance ministry situated at the North Block,” an official said, seeking anonymity.

Finance ministry officials had announced last month that Finance Minister Arun Jaitley will present an interim Budget, not a full Budget or a vote-on-account.

The government may announce a slew of measures to woo rural voters and urban middle class. The government would like to build on its rural vote base, while retaining its traditional support base in cities.

The government is most likely present the interim budget on February 1 next year as it did last year. Last year, the government had advanced the Budget presentation from the last working day of February to provide room for implementing ministries and departments to spend the funds allocated to them.

The practice has been that the budget session of Parliament used to be adjourned after the presentation of the budget to provide time for members of Parliament to prepare for discussions. However, this process used to delay the spending process of central ministries and departments.

Union budget is the annual financial statement of expenditure and receipts of the government of India for the financial year from April, as required by the Article 112 of the Constitution.

Traditionally, union governments do not present a full year budget in the election year as it is considered the right of the newly elected government. In an election year, the incumbent governments have two choices either to present an interim budget for the next few months of the next financial year, or present a vote of account. An interim budget is a complete financial statement of expenditure and receipts, similar to the full budget, while a vote-on-account deals only with the expenditure side of government accounts.

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