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Why is Budget presented on the last working day of February?
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February 27, 2008
If it's February, it's time for the Budget. Budgets have always been presented on the last day of February. So B-day is always on February 28, except on leap years when it is presented on February 29.   

This year, the Budget will be presented on February 29. This will be Chidambaram's first Budget on February 29 (all his other six Budgets were presented on February 28).  Morarji Desai has presented two Budgets on February 29.

Why Budget is tabled on the last working day of February?

The finance minister is required to submit the Budget to the Parliament usually on the last working day of February so that the Lok Sabha has one month to review and modify the Budget proposals.

The Budget proposed by the finance minister comes into effect after parliamentary discussion on the Budget has been completed by April 1.

Who decides the Budget day?

In India, the Budget is presented in Parliament on a date fixed by the President.

The Budget speech of the finance minister is usually divided in two parts. Part A deals with general economic survey of the country while Part B relates to taxation proposals.

The General Budget is presented at 11 a.m. on the last working day of February, i.e. about a month before the commencement of the financial year except in the year when general elections are held.

In an election year, Budget may be presented twice -- first to secure vote on account for a few months and later in full.

What is meant by vote on account?

The discussion on the Budget begins a few days after its presentation. The Parliament discusses the budgetary provisions and the various proposals for taxation.

Since Parliament is not able to vote for the entire budget before the commencement of the new financial year, it is important to keep enough funds at the disposal of government.

A special provision is, therefore, made for 'vote on account' by which government obtains the vote of Parliament for a sum sufficient to incur expenditure on various items for a part of the year.

How is the Budget discussed in Lok Sabha?

The Budget is discussed in two stages in Lok Sabha. First, there is the general discussion on the budget as a whole. This lasts for about four to five days. Only the broad outlines of the Budget and the principles and policies underlying it are discussed at this stage.

Who presents the Budget?

The General Budget is presented in Lok Sabha by the minister of finance. He makes a speech introducing the Budget and it is only in the concluding part of his speech that the proposals for fresh taxation or for variations in the existing taxes are disclosed by him.

The 'Annual Financial Statement' is laid on the Table of Rajya Sabha at the conclusion of the speech of the finance minister in Lok Sabha.

Who presented India's first Budget?

R K Shanmukhan Chetty, who served as the finance minister in Jawaharlal Nehru's Cabinet between 1947 and 1949, presented the first Budget of independent India on November 26, 1947.

It was a review of the economy and no new taxes were proposed as the Budget day for 1948-49 was just 95 days away. Chetty resigned in 1949 due to differences with Nehru.

Which Indian finance minister presented the maximum number of Budgets?

Morarji Desai has presented a record number of ten Budgets. He was the finance minister from 1959 to 1964 and also from 1967 to 1970. He presented five annual and one interim Budget during his first stint, and three final and one interim in his second term. In 1964 and in 1968 -- both leap years -- Desai presented the Budget on February 29, his birthday.

Which two Indian finance ministers presented five Budgets in a row?

Yaswant Sinha and Manmohan Singh. The first time he took over the office of the finance minister, Yashwant Sinha's government was pulled down before he could present a full Budget and instead had to present an interim Budget for 1991-92. He was appointed the finance minister for the second time in 1998, when the Bharatiya Janata Party was voted to power.

In the election held in May 1991, the Congress returned to power and Manmohan Singh became the finance minister. He presented the final Budget for 1991-92 in July 1991.

This was the first occasion when the interim and final Budgets were presented by two ministers of two different political parties.

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