The government today indicated it will present the budget for 2012-13 on February 29, the assembly elections in five states notwithstanding.
“Legally there is no impediment in presenting the budget on February 29 … There is nothing which prevents us,” said a senior Finance Ministry official associated with the budget making exercise. The official, however, added “no decision has been taken as yet”. The government would take a view on the date of presentation of the budget once the issues concerning the Lokpal Bill are “behind us”, he said.
In the usual course, the budget is presented in the Lok Sabha on last working day of February. As 2012 is the leap year, the last working day of the month falls on February 29. There are reports that the government might postpone the date of presentation of the budget in view of assembly elections in five states — Uttar Pradesh, Punjab, Uttarakhand, Goa and Manipur. As per the schedule worked out by the Election Commission, last polling will take place on March 3 in Goa and counting of votes will begin on March 4.
Finance Minister Pranab Mukherjee too had earlier said that there would not be any problem in presenting the budget on scheduled date. “The Union Budget is usually presented on the last date of February. Next year being a leap year, the budget is likely to be placed on February 29. The elections to all the state Assemblies, except in Goa, will be over by that date. So, I don’t think there will be any problem,” Mukherjee had said.
The General Budget, which contains statement of receipt and expenditure and tax proposals for the fiscal, is preceded by Economic Survey, an official report card of the financial year, and Railway Budget.