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regular-article-logo Thursday, 29 February 2024

No 'spectacular announcement' in February budget, says Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman

A full Budget for the 2024-25 fiscal would be presented in July next year by the new government elected after the April-May general elections: FM

PTI New Delhi Published 07.12.23, 04:48 PM
Nirmala Sitharaman

Nirmala Sitharaman File photo

Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman on Thursday ruled out any "spectacular announcement" for her sixth budget on February 1 next year, saying it would just be a vote on account before the general elections.

A full Budget for the 2024-25 fiscal would be presented in July next year by the new government elected after the April-May general elections, she said at the CII Global Economic Policy Forum.

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"I am not going to play a spoilsport, but it is a matter of truth that the February 1, 2024, budget that will be announced will just be a vote on account because we will be in an election mode. So the budget that the government presents will just be to meet the expenditure of the government till a new government comes to play," she said.

"No spectacular announcements come in that time (in a vote on account). So you will have to wait till after the new government comes in and presents the next full Budget in July 2024," Sitharaman said in reply to a question on whether she would announce a "supercharged budget" in February.

Piyush Goyal, who was holding additional charge of the Ministry of Finance after Arun Jaitley fell ill, had presented the last interim budget in 2019.

After the Narendra Modi-led government swept to power for the second straight time, Sitharaman was appointed as the finance minister and she presented the full budget on July 5, 2019.

Traditionally, a vote on account is an authorisation for incurring certain expenditures required till a new government takes office.

Governments in the past have refrained from making any major policy announcement during the vote on account, but there is no constitutional bar from making big announcements.

Goyal had announced a Rs 6,000 per year cash dole to 12 crore farmers in the interim Budget 2019.

Goyal had also announced tax sops for the middle class, including hiking the standard deduction available to the salaried class to Rs 50,000, from Rs 40,000.

Also, a full tax rebate was announced for individual taxpayers having taxable annual income of up to Rs 5 lakh. The 2019 interim budget had proposed that such taxpayers would not be required to pay any income tax Also, ministers have made political speeches which some saw as a pitch for re-election.

Before the vote on account, Governments also do not present the customary pre-budget Economic Survey that traditionally is presented a day before the presentation of the full budget.

The survey which details the state of the economy and directional events, is presented when the full budget is tabled in Parliament in July.

Except for the headline, this story has not been edited by The Telegraph Online staff and has been published from a syndicated feed.

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