New Delhi, Jan 25 (IANS) The union budget for the 2012-13 financial year would be presented around mid-March after the election process for electing five new state assemblies gets over, but no date has been fixed yet, Finance Minister Pranab Mukherjee said Wednesday.
“By March 6, election process will be over. Code of conduct is until March 9. Budget will be after that,” Mukherjee said in an informal chat with mediapersons at a lunch hosted by him.
Asked whether the earliest possible date will be mid-March, the finance minister said: “Yes, but the date is not finalised yet.”
The finance minister pointed out that there was a constitutional sanctity to two dates. One is March 31, before which a vote on account should be taken so that there was no problem in withdrawal of money for government expenditure.
The other constitutional sanctity is related to the passage of the finance bill. “There is a 75-day deadline for passage of the finance bill,” he said.
The general budget is usually presented on the last day of February every year. Due to assembly elections in Uttar Pradesh, Uttarakhand, Punjab, Goa and Manipur, the union budget is set to be delayed at least by a fortnight.
Mukherjee said the cabinet committee on parliamentary affairs would meet in the first week of February to take a final decision on the date of the budget session of parliament.
Budget session of parliament, which generally starts around Feb 20, will begin this year after March 9. As March 10-11 are weekends, the budget session is likely to begin from March 12.
The general budget is preceded by the Economic Survey and the Railway Budget. So the general budget could be presented only after March 15.
Kaushik Basu, chief economic adviser to finance minister, who is responsible for writing the economic survey, said the work on economic survey had also been delayed.
“Generally the survey used to be completed by Feb 1. This year, we are hopeful to finish it by the middle of February,” Basu said.