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Finance Ministry to take Election Commission in loop to finalise budget date

The Finance Ministry plans to hold discussions with the Election Commission before fixing the new date for presenting the Union Budget 2017-18 in order to avoid any clash.

Photo: Reuters Photo: Reuters

The Finance Ministry plans to hold discussions with the Election Commission before fixing the new date for presenting the Union Budget 2017-18 in order to avoid any clash with the schedules for the forthcoming assembly elections in five states.

Uttar Pradesh, Punjab, Uttarakhand, Goa and Manipur are the five states scheduled to go for polls in February.

A senior Finance Ministry official told Mail Today that Finance Minister Arun Jaitley has already given an indication to this effect.

He said earlier the Election Commission was well aware of the traditional last day of February for the presentation of the the Union Budget.

However, now with the date being brought forward the Election Commission would have to be consulted so that both the exercises can be carried through smoothly.

The elections in five states, he said, are likely to be held in phases and the government does not want any of them to clash with the Budget making exercise. The Cabinet last week agreed to advance the presentation of the Budget to complete the legislative exercise before the beginning of new financial on April 1 as it would give more time spend the allocated amounts for various schemes and in order to spur economic growth.

The Finance Ministry has proposed that the Budget be presented on February 1 and the entire exercises be completed by March 24.

It wants the Budget Session of Parliament to begin before January 25 and go in for a three-week break between February 10 and 15 before reconvening between March 10 and 15 to complete the legislative exercise.