The process that begins with the presentation of the Budget and ends with discussions and voting is a long one. With the government set to present the Budget for 2016-17 on Monday, HT explains the constitutional and parliamentary intricacies of the exercise:
All about the bills
This is the law, stipulated under Article 114 (3) of the Constitution, which the government uses to make withdrawals from the Consolidated Fund.
Every year the government imposes new taxes, abolishes some old ones, changes regulation and alters some existing income taxes. These are carried out by passing the Finance Bill. Parliament has to pass the Finance Bill within 75 days of its introduction.
What happens if it isn’t?
It is seen as a vote of no confidence against the government.
Bills that exclusively contain provisions for imposition and abolition of taxes, for appropriation of moneys from the Consolidated Fund, etc, are certified as Money Bills.
Money Bills can be introduced only in Lok Sabha. The Rajya Sabha cannot make amendments in these but only recommend amendments and return the bills to Lok Sabha within 14 days of their receipt. The Lower House may then accept or reject these recommendations.
A money bill is deemed as passed by both houses if:
1 Rajya Sabha does not return them to Lok Sabha within 14 days.
2 Lok Sabha rejects the recommendations of Rajya Sabha. In these cases, the bill is deemed as passed in both Houses in its original form.
3 Lok Sabha accepts some Rajya Sabha recommendations and re-passes the Bill. The revised bill is deemed as passed in both houses.
Finance Bill and Appropriation Bill are some categories of Money Bills.
Annual financial statement
The Annual financial statement document shows the government’s estimates of earnings and spending for the year, compared to the previous year. These are shown under the three parts in which government accounts are maintained:
Article 266 of the Constitution mandates that Parliamentary approval is required to draw money from the Consolidated Fund. All earnings of the government, its borrowings and also repayment of past loans it has given, form the Consolidated Fund.
Article 267 mandates that Parliamentary nod is needed to draw money from Contingency Fund. The present corpus of the Contingency Fund is Rs 500 crore. It is an imprest or emergency pool of resources to meet urgent unforeseen expenditure.
Government holdings in trusts such as provident funds and money set aside for schemes such as roads and education are kept in Public Account (Article 267). The Public Account have to be paid back to depositor, so such expenses don’t need parliamentary nod.
Demand for Grants
Article 113 of the Constitution mandates that all expenditure from the Consolidated Fund be voted on by Lok Sabha. The government submits its expenditure proposals in the form of Demands for Grants, for the Parliament’s consideration
Each department places demands for grants, which are placed in Lok Sabha along with the Annual Financial Statement.