Tuesday, 13 March 2012

General Budget of India, Balance Sheet of the World's Largest Democracy



The General or Union Budget of India is also referred to as India’s Annual Financial Statement, according to Article 112 of the Constitution of India. The General Budget is presented in the Indian Parliament by India’s Union Minister for Finance, every year on the last working day of February. The First General Budget of Independent India was presented by Mr. R.K. Shanmukham Chetty on 26th November, 1947.
            During the British Rule in India, the Railway Budget and the General Budget were presented together. It was in the year 1924 that both the budgets were separated. They were separated as the Indian Railways started turning into a Huge National Network Organization to itself so it required a separate budget, which could deal with Expenditure on Infrastructure and Coming up Fiscal Years & also on Operating Revenue, Passenger and Freight Tariffs & also Investment on Infrastructure. According to the Separation Convention on the recommendations of the Acworth Committee 1924, the Railway Budget is presented to the Parliament by the Union Minister for Railways, two days before the General Budget, usually around 26th February.
            There are some advantages of conducting the General Budget. By this exercise, the Central Government of India can try to gain control over unnecessary and necessary expenditures while planning its Fiscal Deficit. The General Budget also acts as a kind of Balance Sheet for the Central Government separating the Assets from the Liabilities, while planning National Economic Policies. It also helps the Union Ministry for Finance to formulate Tax Benefits and Proposals towards Individuals & Companies, which includes both Public and Private Enterprises.
            There are some disadvantages while framing the General Budget as well. This exercise is at times very Time-consuming to carry out. This exercise becomes more cumbersome to handle especially when the surrounding environment is very unstable like that during times of a National Emergency or Unstable Central Government.
            The General Budget is a complex and lengthy document which is prepared by the Senior Officials of the Union Ministry for Finance and the Planning Commission of India. Then the Budget Speech Papers are taken by the Union Minister for Finance and are presented in the Parliament House. The General Budget has to be passed by the House, before it can come into effect on 1st April which is the beginning of India’s Financial Year.
 Thus, it can be concluded that the General Budget of India is a complex but important aspect in increase or decrease of commodity prices & taxes for Indians. Ultimately, it’s the mirror towards the Growth Story of the Republic of India to attain 9% Gross Domestic Product alias GDP.

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