New Delhi - The finance ministry will kick off budgetary exercise for 2019-20 from next week and hold the first meeting with ministries of steel, power, and housing and urban development to finalise revised expenditure for the current fiscal and projections for the next financial year.
In view of the upcoming General Elections, the government will come out with interim Budget also referred as Vote-on-Account, likely on February 1, 2019.
The Expenditure Secretary will hold discussions to finalise Revised Estimate (RE) 2018-19 and Budget Estimate (BE) 2019-20 in respect of the Grants/Appropriations, according to a notification of the Budget Division of the Finance Ministry.
A series of meetings with different ministries and department will commence from October 12 and continue till November 16. On the concluding day, Railways and Petroleum and Natural Gas Ministry will hold discussion.
It would also be the last budget of the BJP-led NDA government before the 2019 general elections.
Finance Minister Arun Jaitley will present his 6th consecutive Budget with 2019 being Vote-on-Account.
As per practice a Vote-on-Account or approval for essential government spending for a limited period is taken in an election year and a full-fledged budget presented by the new government. While P. Chidambaram had presented the previous UPA government's Vote-on-Account in February 2014, Jaitley had presented a full budget in July that year.
Narendra Modi-led government scrapped a colonial-era tradition of presenting the budget at the end of February. Jaitley had for the first time presented the annual accounts on February 1, 2017.
With the preponement of budget, ministries are now allocated their budgeted funds from the start of the financial year beginning April.
This gives government departments more leeway to spend as well as allow companies time to adapt to business and taxation plans.
Previously, when the budget was presented at the end of February, the three-stage Parliament approval process used to get completed some time in mid-May, weeks ahead of onset of monsoon rains. This meant government departments would start spending on projects only from August-end or September, after the monsoon season ended.