No Economic Survey before Interim Budget 2024: Know Why

No Economic Survey before Interim Budget 2024, stated the The Indian Economy: A Review
Interim Budget 2024 - Economic Survey 2024 Absence - Interim Union Budget 2024 - Budget 2024 - taxscan

“We are pleased to present ‘Indian Economy – A Review’, which consists of two chapters. This is not the Economic Survey of India prepared by the Department of Economic Affairs. That will come before the full budget after the general elections. This review takes stock of the state of the Indian economy and its journey in the last ten years and offers a brief sketch of the outlook for the economy in the coming years”, stated “The Indian Economy: A Review” released by the Department of Economic Affairs, Finance Ministry.

The Union Interim Budget 2024 comes without bells and whistles as declared earlier by the Finance Minister Nirmala Sitaraman, being one of interim nature and just a “vote on account”, bearing no significant tax reforms or legislative changes.

Every year, a day before the presentation of the budget document, the central government presents an Economic Survey. However, a survey will not be presented on January 31, the budget being of interim nature and in light of the upcoming elections.

In the recently released mini-annual Economic Survey titled ‘The Indian Economy: A Review,’ Chief Economic Adviser V Anantha Nageswaran outlines India’s potential to reach a $7 trillion economy by 2030.

This comprehensive 74-page document, a precursor to the upcoming Interim Union Budget 2024, delves into the country’s real growth rate projections for the fiscal year and highlights key challenges.

With Lok Sabha elections approaching in April and May, this interim report, dubbed the mini economic survey, serves as a preview of India’s growth trajectory and identifies challenges for the upcoming fiscal year. CEA Nageswaran expresses optimism, stating that FY25 could mark the fourth consecutive year of the Indian economy growing at or above 7 percent post-pandemic.

The Economic Survey is not a constitutional requirement. It is a government practice to present the Economic Survey every year before the budget. However, the government is not compelled to present the Economic Survey, and its recommendations are not binding on the government.

The first Economic Survey of India was presented in 1950-51 as part of the Union Budget. After 1964, it was separated from the Budget and presented each year during the Budget Session before the presentation of the budget.

Significantly, the inaugural Budget of Independent India, presented on November 26, 1947, by Finance Minister R.K. Shanmukham Chetty, was notably an interim one. In his address, he conveyed:

“From the 15th August, 1947 to the 31st March, 1948. I may briefly explain the circumstances in which it has been necessary to present a fresh Budget for this period. With the division of the country and the emergence of two independent Governments in place of the old Central Government, the Budget for the current year 1947-48 passed by the Legislature last March ceased to be operative. Although under the transitional provisions of the constitution, the Government could authorize the expenditure necessary for the rest of the financial year, it was felt that it will be in accordance with the public wish that a Budget should be placed before the representatives of the people at the earliest possible moment. There is nothing spectacular about my statement and there will be no surprises associated with a Budget. I shall place before the House our estimate of revenue and expenditure for this period and I shall try to indicate in broad outlines the pattern of the economic life of the country and the problems that we will have to face in the immediate future.”

Likewise, as the Lok Sabha elections 2024 are set to take place this year in April-May, a full budget is not being presented by FM Sitharaman. A complete budget and the Economic Survey will be presented in July, when the results are declared and a new cabinet is appointed.

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