Let Budget be presented on Feb 1, ASSOCHAM tells Oppostition parties

Budget Session - Parliament - Taxscan

Making a strong appeal to different political parties to let the Union Budget for 2017-18 be presented to Parliament on February 1, the apex industry chamber ASSOCHAM today said the advancement to this effect would help the government to begin its capital and other expenditure right from April and revive the much needed economic growth.

“The decision of the Central Government for advancing the date of the Budget is well thought out from the point of view of revival of the economic sentiment. As is evident, the consumer demands as also corporate investment have rather been subdued owing to a host of factors. Under these circumstances, the only option in the immediate future is the government expenditure gathering pace and creating a positive cycle of economic revival,” ASSOCHAM Secretary General Mr D S Rawat said.

He said in the earlier arrangement when the Budget was presented on the last working day of February, its full and final passage could take place in the middle of May with the result that by the time the money is available with the individual ministries and departments, half the financial year is completed.

“This typically leads to back- loading, rather than front-loading  of the government expenditure of the order of Rs 20 lakh crore, which itself is a strong trigger for boosting the economic activity. The bundling of expenditure in the last few months also affects the quality of government spending as the pressure to exhaust the allocated outlays in the set period leads to rush jobs”, the chamber said.

It said with early beginning of the budget allocations, the quality of spending would certainly improve even as it leaves a positive multiplier effect on rest of the economy. This is particularly true in sectors like roads, highways, ports, irrigation projects and above all the railways.

“The Indian Railway is implementing a big capex plan that can generate a significant multiplier impact on several sectors like steel, cement, manufacturing, wagon building etc. All efforts must be made to ensure that all the Parliamentary approvals are given to the Rail budget, which would now be part of the main Budget, well in time”.

Same holds good for other vital infrastructure ministries like shipping, power, coal, road transport, petroleum etc.

The chamber said the Budget should be seen well beyond the partisan politics for the common national good.