FY19 Budget likely on Feb 1, preparations begin

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The finance ministry on Wednesday issued an official circular to begin the process of drafting the Union Budget for 2018-19.

While no date was given as to when Finance Minister Arun Jaitley would table the Budget in Parliament, the document stated the final estimates for schemes and other expenditures should be decided by January 15, 2018.

The Budget is likely to be presented on February 1, 2018, officials confirmed to Business Standard.

According to the circular, work begins on September 30, with the preparation of tentative budget estimates based on the medium-term expenditure framework, (MTEF) which gives estimates three years out. The MTEF for the current financial year provides spending estimates for 2018-19 and 2019-20. These numbers will be the basis, or the starting point rather, for 2018-19 budgeted estimates, an official said.

There will be meetings with various central government ministries and departments, as well as industry bodies and civil society interest groups, starting from October and continuing well into December.

Like 2017-18, the government will seek comments from the public at large, including through social media platforms such as Facebook and Twitter.

The circular states that the advance gross domestic product estimates from the Chief Statistician’s officer are expected by January 6, and the demand for grants is expected to be finalised by January 25.

The 2018-19 Budget will be the second one after Rail and Union Budgets were merged, and the change in spending classification to revenue and capital expenditures from the erstwhile Plan and Non-Plan expenditure. It is expected to be the last full yearly Budget before the 2019 general elections, and also the first Budget after the implantation of the goods and services tax. 

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