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Budget 101: government offers friendly help

The finance ministry on Tuesday sought to do away with the “mystery” surrounding the budget-making exercise by unveiling a comprehensive “Budget Manual” that seeks to capture the content as well as procedures of the annual government accounting exercise in a single compendium.

business Updated: Sep 28, 2010 20:50 IST
HT Correspondent

The finance ministry on Tuesday sought to do away with the “mystery” surrounding the budget-making exercise by unveiling a comprehensive “Budget Manual” that seeks to capture the content as well as procedures of the annual government accounting exercise in a single compendium.

The 200-page document outlines the entire chain of events relating to the making of the Union budget, lifting the veil of secrecy from the closely guarded process. “Budget is shrouded in mystery. Even in the whole text of Constitution, if you try to find out the word budget, you will not get it. Article 112 of the Constitution, which deals with the budget uses the phrase Annual Financial Statement,” said Finance Minister Pranab Mukherjee.
Large areas of the budget-making procedures and processes have not been in public domain, leading at times to some misinterpretations and conjectures.

“The Budget Manual will shed such misconceptions. I am sure this manual will bring about greater transparency and better understanding about the budget-making procedures and systems,” he said.
Till now, budget related instructions and guidelines were available in the form of various executive instructions and guidelines.

These were found to be insufficient since many facets and processes of budget making continued to be based on past precedents or individual knowledge and experience.

“There was a need to document the entire budget related process and procedures at one place,” said Finance Secretary Ashok Chawla.