On February 1, Union Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman will unveil the interim Union Budget 2024 for the upcoming fiscal year. This budget will have no big announcements and will serve as a placeholder until the results of the 2024 Lok Sabha elections are announced.
The interim Budget 2024 will not feature any substantial policy changes, and the Union Budget 2024 will be presented only once a new government is established following the country’s general elections in April-May 2024.
The Union Budget has been presented on February 1 for numerous years, although many people are unaware that before, the Budget was presented in Parliament towards the end of February, generally in the last week.
The budget paper was initially presented by the Finance Ministry on February 1 rather than the last week of the month in 2017, marking the first time the date of budget presentation has been altered.
On February 1, 2017, then-Finance Minister Arun Jaitley declared that the Union Budget will no longer be delivered on the last working day of the month, as it had been in the colonial era.
Why was the date of the Union Budget presentation shifted?
The main rationale for presenting the budget on February 1 rather than the final day of the month was to eliminate a tradition that had been practiced throughout the colonial era under British administration. This was not, however, the main reason for the date change.
Arun Jaitley had pointed out that presenting the Budget at the end of February left the government very little time to prepare for new policies and reforms that would take effect a month later, on April 1. As a result, the presentation date was moved to February 1.
Arun Jaitley, Finance Minister, also abolished the tradition of providing a separate Budget for Railways, as was done under British rule. The FM had announced that the Railways Budget would be merged with the Union Budget.
Previously, the time of the budget presentation was also different. During the British era, the Budget arrived at 5 p.m., in accordance with British local time. However, even after independence, India maintained this practice.
During Atal Bihari Vajpayee’s NDA administration in 1999, Finance Minister Yashwant Singh requested that the Union Budget be delivered at 11 a.m. rather than 5 p.m., allowing Parliament MPs more time for discussion and debate.
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