An Interim Budget is presented by a government that is going through a transition period or is in its last year in office ahead of general elections. Traditionally, an incumbent government cannot present a full Union Budget in the election year. Instead, the Finance Minister presents an Interim Budget during the joint sitting of Rajya Sabha and Lok Sabha in Parliament.
With an Interim Budget, the incumbent government seeks a vote of approval from Parliament to draw money from the Consolidated Fund of India to meet its Budget expenses before the end of the financial year; that is, March 31, 2019. It is a traditional practice which takes place in the run-up to every general election.
The full Union Budget is presented by the newly-elected government after Lok Sabha polls. In recent times, Interim Budgets have been instrumental for the incumbent governments to list out their achievements to draw voters' support.
What can be done?
An Interim Budget is similar to a Union Budget. In Interim Budget, the ruling government tables estimate of its expenditure, revenue, fiscal deficit and financial performance and projections for the upcoming financial year. The ruling government at the end of its tenure, presents an Interim Budget for three to four months so as to keep the country running unhampered. The likely focus of the incumbent government in the Interim Budget can be to outline its economic vision for the next five years, should it return to power.
Even if major tax proposals are not made, the ruling government sometimes does adopt a few populist measures to please the electorate.
What cannot be done?
It does not make any major policy announcements during the Interim Budget which could financially burden the next government that will present the full Union Budget. According to the Election Commission's Code of Conduct, the ruling government cannot include any major scheme in the Interim Budget as it could influence the voters. The government in power does not present the Economic Survey along with the Interim Budget.