State govt mulling budget in winter session

Panduranga Mhaske
Thursday, 28 December 2017

Mumbai: Though the Centre’s plan to change the financial year cycle from April-March to January-December has been put on hold and may not materialise in the Narendra Modi government’s current term, the Maharashtra government is contemplating to pass the state budget in the winter session.
According to officials from the financial department, the move is still at the discussion stage.

Mumbai: Though the Centre’s plan to change the financial year cycle from April-March to January-December has been put on hold and may not materialise in the Narendra Modi government’s current term, the Maharashtra government is contemplating to pass the state budget in the winter session.
According to officials from the financial department, the move is still at the discussion stage.

Change in financial year is Prime Minister Narendra Modi's pet decision. He first talked about it in a governing council meeting of the NITI Aayog in April last year, where all states participated. He also directed states to take a lead on the same.

Any change in the financial year would have to be agreed upon by all states, and a number of them are still not in its favour, the official, who did not wish to be named, said on Thursday.

Besides, the government did not see many advantages in switching to the January-December cycle, he added.

"If the budget presentation is done in December, (instead of March) the implementation of the budget can start in January. This is part of the move to have January-December fiscal format," he added.

“A number of states are not on board with the idea. The financial year change has been put on the back burner,” the official said, adding that a final decision on the matter could be taken in 2019.

Madhya Pradesh has announced shifting of its fiscal year to January-December pattern from next year.

The Centre is studying the report of the Shankar Acharya committee, which was tasked with studying the implications of any such shift.

When contacted, Parliamentary Affairs Minister Girish Bapat said changing the fiscal year format comes under the jurisdiction of the Centre.

"If this happens then the winter session will be in Mumbai, where the annual budget of the state will be presented," he said.

Bapat said at Nagpur when the winter session of the assembly was on that the government is thinking of holding the winter session at Mumbai as during the monsoon session there are heavy rains in Mumbai that disrupts the state capital.

However, opposition leaders termed it childish. Nawab Malik, spokesperson of Nationalist Congress Party (NCP) said there are many hurdles to the Goods and Service Tax (GST). "The GST has paralysed the entire economy. The nation has to overcome issues like demonetisation and GST. Then the government has to think over such moves," he said.

Congress spokesperson Sachin Sawant said the government is trying to hide its failure on the economic front. "The government has no proper programme to implement so they are trying to divert attention from the issues," Sawant said.

Some officials are in favour of the move and say passing the budget before January will help administrative purposes. "At present when the budget is passed in March, an implementation like road repairs and construction is delayed for four to five months because of rains even after the administrative approvals," one official pointed out.

India has been following the April-March financial year since 1867, mainly to align the Indian financial year with that of the British government. 

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