oppn parties A Different Union Budget This Year?

News Snippets

  • Imran Khan raises nuclear war bogey again, says if Pakistan loses a conventional war, it might fight till the end with its nuclear arsenal
  • Searching for Rajeev Kumar, ex-CP, Kolkata Police, the CBI approaches state DGP to know about his whereabouts
  • Ferry overturns in the river Godavari in Andhra. 46 feared dead
  • Supreme Court to hear pleas on Jammu & Kashmir today
  • Ghulam Nabi Azad moves Supreme Court for ordering the government to allow him to visit his family in J&K
  • GST Council meeting to focus on leakages and evasions, expected to tighten processes, especially regarding input tax credit
  • Finance minister, citing figures for July 2019, says that industrial production and fixed investment is showing signs of revival
  • Amit Shah's comment on Hindi as the unifying language draws the ire of MK Stalin and Siddaramaiah. Stalin says the country is India not Hindia
  • On Hindi Diwas today, Amit Shah says use of mother language must be increased but Hindi should be adopted as the common language of the country
  • Pakistan raises white flag on LoC to claim bodies of dead soldiers
  • India beat Bangladesh by 5 runs to lift the U-19 Asia Cup
  • A three-judge bench of the Supreme Court will examine the amendments to the SC/ST act made after an apex court order that 'diluted' the provisions and which were reinstatd by the amendment
  • Delhi government decides to re-implement the odd-even system of traffic management from November 4 to 15
  • UP to discontinue law that allows the state government to pay the income tax dues of ministers
  • Anand Sharma of the Congress to replace P Chidambaram on the parliamentary committee on home affairs
Sunni Wakf Board and Nirvani Akhara write to the Supreme Court for a negotiated settlement to the Ayodhya dispute
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A Different Union Budget This Year?

By Sunil Garodia

About the Author

Sunil Garodia Editor-in-Chief of indiacommentary.com. Current Affairs analyst and political commentator. Writes for a number of publications.
The 2018 general budget will be absolutely different from what Indians are used to. This is because of a host of factors. The first and foremost factor is the introduction of Goods and Services Tax (GST). Since GST is based on the spirit of federal cooperation, is governed entirely by the GST Council (headed by the Finance Minister) and has subsumed a wide array of taxes, the need for the finance minister to go into the nitty-gritty of excise and service tax levies and tinker with them as per representations by various interest groups and chambers is no longer there.

The second most important factor is the doing away of the separate railway budget and subsuming it in the general budget. Since other departments, like defence for instance, have allocations far exceeding that of the railways and are yet part of the general budget, there was no need to have a separate railway budget. There is no point in the railway minister requisitioning funds from the finance ministry and then allocating them. From now onwards, the allocation and use of funds would be spelled out in the general budget itself.

Finally, with the Planning Commission not in existence anymore, the difference between Plan and non-Plan expenditure has also vanished. Expenditure will henceforth be classified as revenue and capital, as is the stated norm in accounting procedure. It makes sense as a lot of non-Plan expenditure was disguised as Plan expenditure to escape overspending scrutiny. Now, if revenue expenditure is substantially higher than earnings, it will immediately expose the government as living beyond its means. Further, capital expenditure on various schemes will nail the government if it chooses to ignore social sector spending.

Ideally, since the time consuming details of excise and service tax are omitted, the budget speech should be short. But this year being the last when Arun Jaitley will present his full budget and the expectation that this budget will be farm-oriented, there is a huge chance that the man will play to the gallery and announce grandiose schemes, ostensibly to benefit the farmers but in reality to try and win back their votes. But both Mr Jaitley and the government should realize that unless a marketing chain for agricultural produce that eliminates unscrupulous middlemen and opportunistic traders is put in place and unless farm credit is not mostly dependant on usurious private moneylenders, the farmersÂ’ lot is not going to improve. Tough administrative measures are needed for the farm sector, not budgetary sops alone.