What is the Union Budget?
2 min read • Updated: February 2, 2024, 2:31 PM
The Union Budget is essential for every Indian citizen as it reflects the government's financial policies and plans for the upcoming year. It's a statement of the expected income and expenses of the Government of India for a financial year, which starts on April 1 and ends on March 31 every year. The Budget is not just a financial statement; it's also a policy document that defines the Government's priorities and initiatives.
What is the Budget?
The Union Budget is a comprehensive document that tells us the Government's estimates of revenue and expenditure for a financial year. The government's primary revenue source is taxation, and the Budget plans the tax rates and exemptions for different categories of taxpayers. The Budget also includes estimates of non-tax revenue, such as fees and fines, and capital receipts from disinvestment and borrowing activities.
Expenditure in the Budget is categorised into two types:
Revenue Expenditure and Capital Expenditure. Revenue Expenditure is typically recurring and is used to finance ongoing expenses like payments to government officials, subsidies, and interest payments on debt. On the other hand, capital expenditure is used to finance new projects, infrastructure development, and investments in assets like buildings and equipment.
The Budget is presented in the Parliament by the Finance Minister, who is also the Chairperson of the Finance Commission. Its presentation is a major event in Indian politics. So, it's followed closely by all.
Not Just a Statement of Accounts In the past, the Union Budget was primarily viewed as a statement of the Government's accounts. However, over time, it has evolved into a policy document that's used to announce various initiatives and schemes. The Government uses the Budget as a tool to push its policy agenda, which includes sectors like education, healthcare, infrastructure development, and social welfare.
Some of the key schemes that have seen a push in the Union Budget of the past few years include the provision of household toilets, LPG connections, COVID vaccinations, PM Jan Dhan bank accounts, and cash transfers to farmers under the PM Kisan Samman Nidhi scheme.
The government also announced marquee projects like PM Atal Jal Yojana Scheme, BharatNet rollout, Ayushman Bharat, Swachh Bharat Mission, and Smart Cities Mission through its past Budgets.
Why The Govt Will Present an Interim Budget in February
An interim budget is a budget that is presented just before the general elections and covers the expenses for the first three months of the next financial year. So, this year there will be an Interim Budget. There will be an interim budget this year instead of a full budget because the current government's term is coming to an end, and a new government will be elected.