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Components of Union Budget

Context:  On February 1, Union Finance Minister will present the Union Budget for the next financial year (2023-24).

Fundamentals of Budget-Making

  • Constitution: According to Article 112 of the Indian Constitution, the Union Budget of a year is a statement of the estimated receipts and expenditures of the government for that particular year.
    • It is also referred to as the Annual Financial Statement.
  • Objective: To bring about rapid and balanced economic growth in our country coupled with social justice and equality.
    • It is expected that as the size of the Union Budget increases, the higher government expenditure will push the economy forward.
  • Preparation: Indian Union Budget is prepared by the Ministry of Finance in consultation with NITI Aayog and other concerned ministries.
    • Budget division of the department of economic affairs (DEA) in the finance ministry is the nodal body responsible for producing the Budget.
    • Until 2016, the Union Budget was presented on the last day of February, however, that has changed to the first of February.
    • Furthermore, the Railway Budget which was presented separately a day before the final Budget was merged with the Union Budget after 2016.

India’s First Budget

  • The Budget was first introduced in India on April 7, 1860, when Scottish economist and politician James Wilson from the East India Company presented it to the British Crown.
  • Independent India’s first budget was presented on November 26, 1947 by the then Finance Minister RK Shanmukham Chetty.
how-union-budget-is-prepared
how-union-budget-is-prepared

Significance of Union Budget

Ensure efficient allocation of resources:
  • It is necessary to employ the available resources in the best interest of the country.
  • Allocating resources optimally helps to achieve profit maximization for the government so as to foster public welfare.
Reduce unemployment and poverty level: 
  • To wipe out poverty and create more job opportunities.
  • This will ensure that every citizen of the country is able to meet his/her basic needs of food, shelter, and clothing, along with facilities for health care and education.
Reduce wealth and income disparities:
  • Aids in influencing the distribution of income through subsidies and taxes.
  • It helps to ensure that a high rate of tax is levied on the rich class, thereby reducing their disposable income.
  • On the other hand, a lower rate of tax is charged on the lower income group to ensure they have sufficient income in hand.
Keep a check on prices:
  • The Union Budget aids in controlling the economic fluctuations as well.
  • It ensures proper handling of inflation and deflation, thus bringing about economic stability.
  • During inflation, surplus budget policies are implemented, while deficit budget policies are devised during deflation.
  • This aids in maintaining a price stability in the economy.
Change tax structure
  • Dictates the possible changes in the direct and indirect taxes of the country.
  • It brings about changes to income tax rates and tax brackets.

Classification of Union Budget

Revenue budget Capital Budget
It includes the government’s revenue receipts and expenditure.

There are two kinds of revenue receipts – tax and non-tax revenue.

Revenue expenditure is the expenditure incurred on day to day functioning of the government and on various services offered to citizens.

If revenue expenditure exceeds revenue receipts, the government incurs a revenue deficit.

It includes capital receipts and payments of the government.

Loans from public, foreign governments and RBI form a major part of the government’s capital receipts.

Capital expenditure is the expenditure on development of machinery, equipment, building, health facilities, education etc.

Fiscal deficit is incurred when the government’s total expenditure exceeds its total revenue.

Key Concept of Union Budget

  1. Gross Domestic Product (GDP)
  • It is the value of the goods and services produced within the country during a year. GDP is the measure of the country’s economic output.
  • In India, contributions to GDP are largely divided into three sectors – agriculture, industry, and services.
  • Nominal GDP (or what will the size of the economy be next year): It is the total market value of all the goods and services produced in India in a financial year.
  • Real GDP: It is “derived” from the nominal GDP by removing the effect of inflation.
  1. Fiscal Deficit (or how much money can the government borrow?)
  • Fiscal deficit is a condition when the expenditure of the government exceeds its revenue in a year.
  • The fiscal deficit is calculated as the total revenue generated minus the total expenditure.
  • Government revenue comes from revenue receipts, recovery of loans and other receipts of the government.
  • While most countries continue to project a deficit in their economies, a surplus is rare.

Total Revenues

  • It is the amount of money, a government can raise on its own.
  • There are three main ways to raise revenues —
    • Tax revenues (by levying taxes),
    • Non-tax revenues (such as the dividends earned by government-owned enterprises etc.).
    • Money raised through disinvestment of public sector undertakings.

The Fiscal Responsibility and Budget Management Act (FRBM Act), 2003.

  • It establishes financial discipline to reduce the fiscal deficit in the country.
  • FRBM Act stipulates that the total borrowings (fiscal deficit) cannot be more than 3% of the (nominal) GDP.

Important Terms in Budget

  • Fiscal Policy: Fiscal policy refers to the actions taken by the government to manage its spending and revenue collection (through taxes) to achieve its economic objectives.
  • Consolidated Fund: The Consolidated Fund of India is a crucial government account that includes revenues received and expenses incurred during a financial year, with the exception of exceptional expenses such as disaster management.
    • All non-exceptional government expenditure is made from this fund.
  • Inflation: Inflation refers to the rate at which the overall cost of goods and services in an economy is rising.
  • The Current Account Deficit (CAD) is the shortfall between the money received by selling products to other countries and the money spent to buy goods and services from other nations.
  • Divestment: Governments resort to divestment generally as a way to pare losses or to raise revenues.
    • This could be from a non-performing asset, a loss-making company.
    • This helps the government in raising non-tax revenue and to exit loss-making ventures.
  • An interim budget or a ‘vote of account’ announced generally during an election year.
    • The interim budget comprises a complete set of accounts including both revenue and expenditure.
    • However, after the success of an election, the winning government announces the full budget later on and changes are possible in the final document than those presented in the interim budget.
    • The interim budget is the estimates of accounts for the next two to four months.

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