Union Finance Minister Shri Pranab Mukherjee released the first Budget Manual of the Union Government, here today. Releasing the Manual, the Finance Minister said that the Union Budget has evolved over the past six decades to reflect the strength of India’s democratic processes in shaping its economy, and has emerged as a crucial tool for Public Finance Management. He said that this Manual is an attempt to bring together the entire Budget related activities and procedures etc. which were hitherto available in a dispersed manner in the form of executive instructions and guidelines . The Manual has been prepared by the Budget Division of the Department of Economic Affairs. Finance Minister Shri Mukherjee congratulated the Division for taking this initiative.
The Finance Minister said Budget Manual is a comprehensive document explaining in detail the procedures and activities connected with the preparation of Budget. Mr Mukherjee said that Budget Manual will serve as a guidance document to the officials involved in Budget making in the Finance Ministry as well as in other Ministries/Departments. He said that it is also expected to act as a good reference document for interested readers and stakeholders. He said that this document is an effort in the direction of fostering greater transparency and better understanding about procedures and systems relating to making of Union Budget.
At the outset, the Manual brings out the Constitutional provisions related to the Budget. It describes the contents of various Budget documents. The Finance Minister said that the Manual also deals with the Organizational aspects, roles and responsibilities of the Parliament, Parliamentary Committees and the responsibilities of various wings of the Executive in the Budget making process. The Union Government’s accounting and classification systems have also been explained apart from the working of the Consolidated Fund of India, the Contingency Fund of India and the Public Account of India, the Finance Minister added.
Minister of State for Finance, Shri Namo Narain Meena alongwith the Secretaries of different departments of the Ministry of finance including Finance Secretary, Shri Ashok Chawla, Revenue Secretary, Shri Sunil Mitra, Expenditure Secretary, Smt. Sushma Nath, Secretary, Financial Services, Shri R. Gopalan, Secretary, Disinvestment, Shri Sumit Bose and Chief Economic Advisor, Dr. Kaushik Basu were also present on this occasion among others.
The core sections of the Manual explain the entire chain of activities related to Budget preparation right from the issue of Budget Circular in September to the Budget Day in February, including the processes of estimation of receipts and expenditure, their firming-up and finalization through the Pre-Budget Meetings and their compilation. The comprehensive calendar of Budget related activities, their timelines, details of the related duties and responsibilities of the officers and staff together with the Security and ‘Lock-in’ procedures have also been brought out. Finally the Manual deals with the Implementation and Reporting of various Budget announcements. There are also a series of Annexes which provide a holistic perspective on the related subjects. An attempt has been made to incorporate all the Budget related issues in the Manual so as to make it a self contained and one stop guidance document.
Text of the Finance Minister’s address on the occasion is given below:
“I am pleased to participate in this function to release the Budget Manual for the Union Government. The Budget process of our country predates the Independence and has evolved over the past six decades to reflect the strength of our democratic processes in shaping our economy. It has emerged as a crucial tool for public finance management.
Budget was first introduced on 7th April, 1860, two years after the transfer of Indian administration from East-India Company to British Crown. The first Finance Member, who presented the Budget, was James Wilson. Mr. Liaquat Ali Khan, Member of the Interim Government presented the Budget of 1947-48. After Independence, India’s first Finance Minister, Shri Shanmukham Chetty, presented the first budget of independent India on 26th November, 1947.
Toni Morrison, the famous author and winner of the Pulitzer and Nobel Prize for literature, had once stated, I quote-
“If there’s a book you really want to read but it hasn’t been written yet, then you must write it”.
The Union Government Budget Manual is one such book, the need for which has been felt for long. I am happy to note that the Budget Division has brought out this Manual. Large areas of the Budget making procedures and processes have not been in public domain, leading at times to some misinterpretations and conjectures. The Budget Manual will shed such misconceptions. I am sure this Manual will bring about greater transparency and better understanding about the Union Government Budget making procedures and systems.
The Manual attempts to outline the entire chain of events leading to the Union Budget. The purpose of this Budget Manual is to provide guidance and a training tool for the officers and staff engaged in the Budget preparation, not only in the Finance Ministry but in other Ministries/Departments as well.
Finally, I would also like to express my appreciation to the officials of the Finance Ministry for taking this initiative and completing the task of preparing the Union Government Budget Manual.
With these words I would now like to release the Budget Manual for the Union Government.”