Govt hopeful of passing Budget by July 31: Chidambaram
The new UPA government is hopeful of getting the Budget for 2009-10 approved by the Parliament by July 31, Cabinet Minister P Chidambaram said on Saturday after the first meeting of Union Cabinet in New Delhi.
A decision to convene the first session of the 15th Lok Sabha from June 1 to June 9 was taken at the meeting, chaired by Prime Minister Manmohan Singh, he told reporters.
"We hope we will be able to pass the Budget by July 31," he said, adding if it was not done then the Government will have to seek another vote-on-account for a short period.
President Pratibha Patil will address the joint sitting of Parliament in June 4, the day when Rajya Sabha will also commence its session.
"... The interim Budget as has been approved by Parliament operates till the end of July. So, the Government has the ability to carry on expenditure and its functioning till then. If, after that from the first of August, it is not possible to pass full Budget we need vote-on-account for another short period beyond that," Finance Secretary Ashok Chawla had said earlier in the week.
The Congress in its manifesto had promised to bring the Budget within 45 days of the formation of the new Government.
Singh and 19 Cabinet ministers were sworn-in on Friday by President Pratibha Patil. However, the portfolios have not been allocated to any of the ministers, although Pranab Mukherjee is likely to retain the Finance portfolio.