A brief Budget session of Parliament, the last of the 17th Lok Sabha, will be held between January 31 and February 9.
During the session, the interim budget for 2024-25 will be tabled by Union Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman on February 1.
However, Sitharaman will not be presenting the full budget in the Parliament, but instead will table a vote on account or interim budget in the House.
Why a full budget will not be presented this year
In an election year, the Union government tables an Interim Budget outlining expenditures and revenues until a new government is formed. This interim budget helps the government to manage its financial obligations.
A full-fledged Budget is expected to be unveiled in July following the formation of the newly elected government. Conventionally, an Interim Budget is also known as a ‘vote-on-account’.
Under Article 116 of the Constitution, a “vote on account” refers to an upfront allocation from the Consolidated Fund of India to the government, intended to cover its short-term expenditures,
How Interim budget is different from a full-fledged Budget?
An Interim Budget outlines the government’s anticipated receipts and expenditures until the new government is formed. In contrast, a full-fledged Budget encompasses all facets of government finances, including earnings, spending, allocations, and policy declarations.
A comprehensive annual Budget serves as a strategic roadmap, outlining the economic course for a nation throughout the fiscal year. While on the other hand, an interim budget furnishes financial specifics for the transitional period.
Interim Budgets also have certain limitations imposed by the Election Commission of India to ensure no undue influence on the voters. The government cannot propose major taxes or policy reforms in the budget as it can influence voters in favour of the ruling dispensation.
Traditionally, the government avoids announcing major policies during a “vote on account”, even though there is no constitutional prohibition against making substantial announcements.
In December, Sitharaman had ruled out any “spectacular announcement” for her sixth budget on February 1 this year, saying it would simply be a “vote on account” before the general elections.
“No spectacular announcements come in that time (in a vote on account). So you will have to wait till after the new government comes in and presents the next full Budget in July 2024,” the minister had said in response to a question about a “supercharged budget” during her address at the CII Global Economic Policy Forum.