India National Budget

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Union or General Budget: India's public finance system follows the British pattern. The Indian Constitution establishes the supremacy of the bicameral Parliament, specifically the Lok Sabha (House of the People), in financial matters. No central government taxes are levied and no government expenditure from public funds disbursed without an Act of Parliament, which also scrutinises and audits all government accounts to ensure that expenditures are legally authorised and properly spent. Proposals for taxation or expenditures, however, may be initiated only within the Council of Ministers – specifically by the minister of finance. 

The minister of finance is required to submit to Parliament, usually on the last day of February, a financial statement detailing the estimated receipts and expenditures of the central government for the forthcoming fiscal year and a financial review of the current fiscal year.

The Lok Sabha has one month to review and modify the government's budget proposals. If by April 1, the beginning of the fiscal year, the parliamentary discussion of the India National Budget has not been completed, the the Union Budget of India as proposed by the minister of finance goes into effect, subject to retroactive modifications after the parliamentary review.

On completion of its General Budget discussions, the Lok Sabha passes the annual appropriations act, authorising the executive to spend money, and the Finance Act, authorising the executive to impose and collect taxes. Supplemental requests for funds are presented during the course of the fiscal year to cover emergencies, such as war or other catastrophes.

The bills are forwarded to the Rajya Sabha (Council of States – the upper house of Parliament) for comment. The Lok Sabha, however, is not bound by these comments, and the Rajya Sabha cannot delay passage of money bills. When signed by the President, the bills become law. The Lok Sabha cannot increase the request for funds submitted by the executive, nor can it authorise new expenditures. Taxes passed by Parliament may be retroactive.

Last updated On: 25th July 2014