Cabinet to take up Budget overhaul; Session likely from Jan 24

Last Updated 15 September 2016, 13:29 IST

The proposal for Union Budget overhaul, including merging the Railway Budget with it and preponing the date of its presentation to January end, will be taken up by the Cabinet next week, while the Budget Session may be advanced by a month to January 24.

Early presentation of the Budget will ensure that all legislative work is completed before the beginning of the new fiscal, from April, and funds allocated to various ministries start flowing in from the first quarter.

While early convening of the Budget Session may become a norm in the years to come, the Winter Session of Parliament is likely to be convened on November 12 this year to get the supporting legislations for the GST rollout approved early.

The Finance Ministry is overhauling the Budget making exercise which may see scrapping of the current practice of presenting a separate budget for the Railways as well as shifting to multi-year outcome based budgeting, sources said.

Till now the Budget Session was convened in the third or fourth week of February, and the Union Budget presented on last day of the month. This led to the legislative approvals taking place in two phases spread between February and May.

In order to get all tax proposals as well as expenditure on schemes kicking in from beginning of new fiscal on April 1, the Budget Session of Parliament is likely to be convened on January 24, sources said.

The Economic Survey, which presents the state of economy, is likely to be presented on January 30 and the Union Budget on January 31.

Appropriation as well as finance bill would thus get approved in the following two months, sources said.

Keen to meet the April 1 target to rollout the landmark Goods and Services Tax (GST), the government may advance the Winter Session by a fortnight to November 12 to get supporting legislations passed, leaving sufficient time for the implementation of the new indirect tax regime.

The Winter Session is normally convened in the third or fourth week of November but this year the government is looking at starting the month-long session immediately after the end of festive season.

An early Winter Session will help the Central GST (CGST) and Integrated GST (IGST) legislations, which will pave the way for GST, to get approved within November or latest by early December, sources said.

(Published 15 September 2016, 13:29 IST)

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