The Ministry of Finance will start budgetary exercise for the annual Budget 2023-24 from October 10 on the back of economic revival and fears of a recession in developed countries. The next year’s Union Budget will be the fifth Budget of the Modi 2.0 government and Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman. It will be the last full Budget before the general elections are scheduled in April-May 2024.
During the election year, the government presents Vote on Account for a limited period. The Budget is usually cleared till July. The Budget 2023-24 is expected to be tabled on February 1 during the first half of the Parliament’s Budget session, which usually commences in the last week of January.
Directions for ministries on Budget preparations
“Pre-Budget meetings chaired by the secretary (Expenditure) shall commence on October 10, 2022,” according to the Budget Circular (2023-24) of the Budget Division of the Department of Economic Affairs dated September 6, 2022, reported news agency PTI. “Financial advisers should ensure that the necessary details required in appendices I to VII are properly entered. Hard copies of the data along with specified formats should be submitted for cross-verification,” the circular added, as per the PTI report.
ALSO READ: RBI Releases ‘Alert List’ Of Illegal Forex Trading Platforms Check Details (abplive.com)
The Budget Estimates for 2023-24 will be provisionally finalised after completion of pre-Budget meetings while the RE (Revised Estimate) meetings continue till around mid-November, 2022, it noted.
The ministries/departments have been directed to submit details of autonomous bodies/ implementing agencies for which a dedicated corpus fund has been created. “The reasons for their continuance and requirement of grant-in-aid support, and why the same should not be wound up, should be explained,” it said. As a follow up action on National Monetisation Pipeline, it said, departments may be required to explain progress in asset monetisation.
What’s the focus of Budget 2023-24?
The Budget will be focused on addressing critical issues of high inflation, creating demand, job creation, and getting the economy on a sustained 8 per cent-plus growth path.
Earlier in the day, Nirmala Sitharaman said the focus will remain on job creation and boosting growth. “Some of course are red-lettered (priorities), some may not be. Red-lettered ones would of course be jobs, equitable wealth distribution and making sure India is moving on the path of growth,” she said.
On inflation, the minister noted it is not red-lettered. “I hope it doesn’t surprise many of you. We have shown that in the past couple of months that we were able to bring it to a manageable level,” she added.
The Budget for the current fiscal had projected a growth rate of about 7-7.5 per cent in real terms while fiscal deficit was pegged at 6.4 percent of the gross domestic product (GDP).