The Union Ministry of Finance denied on Wednesday that it plans to present a full budget on February 1. The ministry will instead present an interim budget, or vote-on-account, as the Lok Sabha elections are likely to be held in April and May.
“The Budget will be called Interim Budget 2019-’20,” Ministry of Finance Official Spokesperson DK Joshi told The Financial Express. “We do not have any confusion on the matter.”
Another finance ministry official told Moneycontrol that the ministry has not issued any communication that a full budget will be presented this year.
Media reports suggesting that the Centre intends to present a full budget had sparked condemnation by the Opposition last week. The Congress had threatened to stage protests if the government presents a full budget instead of a vote-on-account, which is a convention followed by outgoing administrations. Congress leader Manish Tewari had said last week that such a step would be a “blatant violation of Constitutional propriety” as the government’s term will end just 56 days into the 2019-’20 financial year.
Former Bharatiya Janata Party leader Yashwant Sinha on Monday urged the Centre to present an interim budget. The former Union finance minister said it would be “entirely improper and unconstitutional” of the BJP-led government to present a full Budget ahead of the upcoming Lok Sabha elections. In an election year, the new government usually presents a full budget in July.
Interim Finance Minister Piyush Goyal will present the budget, as Arun Jaitley is in the United States for medical treatment.