Pre-Budget meetings to start from October 12

Our Bureau New Delhi | Updated on September 20, 2021

The Budget is expected to be presented on February 1

The Finance Ministry has kicked-off the exercise for the preparation of the General Budget for FY23 by issuing a circular.

The Budget is expected to be presented on February 1. This year’s Budget process will have one new Ministry (Co-operation) and Demands for Grants taking the total number of Central Ministries/Departments to 56 and total number of Demands for Grants to 102.

“The pre-budget/RE (Revised Estimate) meetings will begin on the October 12,” the circular said while adding that it will continue till the second week of November. “The Budget Estimates for 2022-23 will be provisionally finalised after Secretary (Expenditure) completes discussions with the Secretaries and Financial Advisors,” it mentioned.

Normally such a meeting is called grant number-wise. Effort is to call Secretaries and Financial Advisors or Ministries with common interest on the same day. Like the meeting date for Agriculture Ministry, Rural Development Ministry and Department of Fertiliser could be on the same day.

Once provisional amount is finalised, it will be communicated to each of the Central Ministry and Departments. “The final ceilings will be decided separately by the Ministry of Finance latest by January 15, 2022, taking into account the resource assessment of the Government and the available fiscal space,” it said.

Taking note of the unusual year, the circular said that the basis of the final budgetary allocations will be overall fiscal position, and subject to that the absorptive capacity of the ministry/department.

Initial estimate

The initial estimate will be based on the expenditure trend of six months. It is expected that the revised estimate is prepared based on the expenditure till November. This year, there was no expenditure cap during first three months (April-June) but during second quarter (July-September), cap for 82 out of 101 Demands for Grants was implemented. In a normal situation, there are not many restrictions during the first three quarters, either for Quarterly Expenditure Plan (QEP) or Monthly Expenditure Plan (MEP).

Considering lower expenditure during first four months and cap during second quarter, there is an expectation that revised estimate for current fiscal and budget allocation for next fiscal for many of Central Ministries/Departments could be lower.

With improved situation on the revenue front, all eyes are on the Finance Ministry’s office memorandum on ‘Cash management System in Central Government-Modified Exchequer Control Based Expenditure Management’ related with October-December quarter. This is expected to be issued next month and will chart the course of action for expenditure during next three months.

Published on September 20, 2021

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