The Union Budget Code - What you need to know

The Union Budget is an estimate of revenues and expenditures of the Government during any financial year

Every February, the Budget is presented for the ensuing financial year replete with relevant statistics for the preceding years, the actual figures for the current year and planned estimates for the following year. The Budget is usually preceded by the tabling of the Railway Budget and the Economic Survey every year

The Budget is prepared on a timetable drawn by the Business Advisory Committee (BAC) of the Indian Parliament. Each Ministry involved receives a fixed schedule for discussion, inclusion and review of their spending and revenue estimates that is then finally included into one consolidated Budget document finally presented before the Indian Parliament

The Finance Ministry in general and the Budget Division in specific hold the overall responsibility of preparing the Budget with relevant inputs from every Ministry. The Budget is prepared on the basis of proposals and a recommendation received from various divisions and the availability of the necessary funds and is subject to final approvals from the Office of the Prime Minister

In case that the complete Budget is not presented to the Parliament, the Constitution empowers the LokSabha to grant a Vote-on-Account (Article 116) so that the government can continue functioning with the requisite expenses for at least two months into the next financial year with time to get Budget proposals tabled and approved. An Interim Budget only talks about the expenses that the government is likely to make during the next few months unlike the Budget which also outlines how it proposes to meet these expenses. The Interim Budget is however, followed by the full annual Budget within six months

So far Independent India has seen 63 Budgets with around 11 Interim Budgets being tabled by the respective Indian governments. Moving away from tradition, this year the Union Budget is expected to be presented on March 16, 2012 given that the budget session of Parliament has been delayed by theongoing Assembly elections in five States



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