Various sectors will have their required funds at the beginning of the next financial year if Parliament’s Budget Session is advanced to February 1, Prime Minister Narendra Modi said on Tuesday during a Niti Aayog meeting with economists. “The date of the budget presentation is being advanced so that expenditure is authorised by the time the new financial year begins,” he said at the meeting on “Economic Policy – The Road Ahead”.
The Centre had proposed presenting the 2017-2018 budget on February 1 instead of the usual date of February 28. It had decided to finalise the date after ensuring it did not clash with Assembly elections that will be held in five states next year. Modi said that in our existing budget calendar, “the authorisation of expenditure comes with the onset of the monsoon”, which makes government programmes “relatively inactive in the productive pre-monsoon months”.
Niti Aayog Vice Chairman Arvind Panagariya said economists had voiced their opinion on a number of subjects at the meeting. “There was a discussion on how to bring down the tax rate,” he said. “Demonetisation was discussed as a move towards a formal economy.”
After a few speakers highlighted that the revenue collected was a fraction of what was due, and Modi said the matter needed to be addressed and that the money should be spent more prudently, Panagariya added. Finance Minister Arun Jaitley also attended the session.
Among other subjects discussed were skill development and job creation, agriculture, digital technology, education, housing, banking, tourism, governance reform, data-driven policy and future steps for growth, according to the Prime Minister’s Office.