Budget 2018: Highlights of India's Various Union Budget Documents

Common to all finance ministers is the briefcase that they carry to the Parliament and pose with on the day of the union budget. In fact the word budget is derived from the French word 'bougette', which means a small bag. The practise is actually a colonial tradition which was started by William Ewart Gladstone, the Chancellor of the Exchequer of Great Britain in 1860 when he first carried a red briefcase or a budget box. British Chancellors hand over the same red box to their successors, a practise which is not followed in India. It is understood that the said briefcase contains the budget speech. But do you know what other budget documents are presented to Parliament on the day of the Budget? Mentioned below are the highlights of various Budget documents presented to Parliament by the Finance Minister other than his Budget Speech.

Annual Financial Statement (AFS): Annual Financial Statement is the primary budget document. It is mandated under the Article 112 of the Constitution of India. The document contains estimated receipts and expenditures for the upcoming financial year, revised estimates for the financial year gone by and actual figures for the financial year prior to it. The receipts and disbursements are divided in to three parts namely Consolidated Fund, Contingency Fund and Public Account for Government Accounts. The Consolidated Fund of India (CFI) owns its existence because of the Article 266 of the Constitution. All revenues of the government, loans taken, receipts received from recoveries of loans together form the Consolidated Fund of India. The Contingency Fund owns its existence to Article 267 of the Constitution. The said fund is used to cover any unforeseen and urgent expenditure of the Government. Finally funds help by the Government in trust such as Provident Funds, Small Savings and more are kept as Public Account. The Annual Financial Statement as mandated under Constitution comprises of Revenue Budget and Capital Budget. For meaningful analysis by Parliament and people the Annual Financial Statement is in accordance with the accounting format laid down by Comptroller and Auditor General of India under Article 150 of the Constitution.

B. Demand for Grants (DG): Demand for Grants (DG) document outlays estimated expenditure which includes revenue expenditure, capital expenditure, grants to State and Union Territories and grants to different ministries. The document is mandated by Article 113 of the Constitution and is voted upon in the Lok Sabha. Mostly one Demand for Grant is presented per Department or Ministry but in case of big ministries and nature of expenditure more than one Demand may also be presented.

C. Appropriation Bill: As per Article 114(3) of the Constitution of India funds cannot be withdrawn from the Consolidated Fund without enactment of such a law by Parliament. Thus after the Demands for Grants are voted by the Lok Sabha to withdraw the expenditure from the Consolidated Fund the Appropriation Bill is placed in parliament separately. Thus the bill gives authority to the government to withdraw funds from the Consolidated Fund to meet any expenditure in the upcoming financial year.

D. Finance Bill: Finance Bill is a money bill which is presented in the Lok Sabha. The bill is mandated under Article 110 of the Indian Constitution. Any changes to the existing tax structure or introduction of any new tax or even continuation of current tax structure beyond the time approved by the Parliament are submitted to the Parliament through this Finance Bill.

E. Memorandum Explaining the Provisions in the Finance Bill: The said document explains the provisions relating to the Finance Bill. The provisions may be related to change in income tax slabs or any other aspect related to the Finance Bill.

F. Macro-economic framework for the relevant financial year: The Macro-economic framework statement is mandated by the Fiscal Responsibility and Budget Management (FRBM) Act, 2003. The document provides an overview of the economy, GDP and health of various vital sectors such as agriculture, service, banking and more.

G. Fiscal Policy Strategy Statement for the financial year: The Fiscal Policy Strategy Statement is mandated under Section 3(4) of the Fiscal Responsibility and Budget Management Act, 2003. The document outlays Government's focus and priorities in the fiscal area. It explains fiscal management, lending and investments, borrowings and guarantees and other such factors and their performance.

H. Medium Term Fiscal Policy Statement: Medium Term Fiscal Policy Statement (MTFP) is mandated under Section 3(2) of the Fiscal Responsibility and Budget Management (FRBM) Act, 2003. It contains details of five specific fiscal indicators which are Revenue Deficit, Effective Revenue Deficit, Fiscal Deficit, Tax to GDP ratio and Total outstanding Debt as percentage of GDP at the end of the year.

I. Expenditure Profile: The Expenditure Profile contains statements for various Expenditures including Expenditures of various Ministries and Departments, Allocations for different Schemes, Transfer to Union Territories, Statement for various Subsidies and Related Schemes, Allocation for Welfare Programs, Grants in Aid to Private Institutions/Organisations/Individuals, Gender Budget, Grants and Loans to Foreign Governments and much more. The document also provides aggregation of various types of expenditure. It also helps avoid overstatement of receipts and expenses by making the required refinements by accurately accommodating department to department expenditures and more.

J. Expenditure Budget: Expenditure Budget document describes revenue and capital disbursements of various departments and ministries. It also provides explanation for any variation in earlier estimations. Estimates made for a scheme or a program along with explanatory notes is also put forth in this document.

K. Receipts Budget: Receipts Budget provides details of tax and non-tax revenue and capital receipts. The document also provides a detailed summary of revenue and capital and trend in expenditure, along with debt situation of the Government.

L. Budget at a glance: Budget at a glance document shows broad details about revenues and expenditure both planned and unplanned. The document also provides details about revenue deficit and fiscal deficit.

M. Highlights of Budget: The Highlights of Budget document list all the key feature and points of the budget. It also lays down sector wise priorities and highlights key focus points.

N. Implementation of Budget Announcements: The Implementation of Budget Announcements documents list details, status and progress about all the various schemes which were brought fore in the previous budgets.

Please note that budget documents from Serial A, B, C and D are compulsorily required under the Articles 112, 113, 114 (3) and 110 (a) of the Constitution of India. Whereas budget documents with Serial F, G and H are presented as per the mandate of the Fiscal Responsibility and Budget Management Act 2003. Other documents are explanatory in nature that supports the above mentioned mandated documents. Hindi version of all these documents also presented in the Parliament.

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