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Union Budget

The dictionary meaning of budget is a systematic plan for the expenditure of a usually fixed resource during a given period.

Thus, Union Budget, which is a yearly affair, is a comprehensive display of the Government’s finances. It is the most significant economic and financial event in India. The Finance Minister puts down a report that contains Government of India’s revenue and expenditure for one fiscal year. The fiscal year runs from April 01 to March 31. 

The Union budget is preceded by an Economic Survey which outlines the broad direction of the budget and the economic performance of the country. 

The Budget is the most extensive account of the Government`s finances, in which revenues from all sources and expenses of all activities undertaken are aggregated. It comprises the revenue budget and the capital budget. It also contains estimates for the next fiscal year called budgeted estimates.

Barring a few exceptions -- like elections – Finance Minister presents the annual Union Budget in the Parliament on the last working day of February. The budget has to be passed by the Lok Sabha before it can come into effect on April 01.

What is revenue budget? 

The revenue budget consists of revenue receipts of the government (revenues from tax and other sources) and the expenditure met from these revenues. 

Revenue receipts are divided into tax and non-tax revenue. Tax revenues are made up of taxes such as income tax, corporate tax, excise, customs and other duties which the government levies. Non-tax revenue consist of interest and dividend on investments made by government, fees and other receipts for services rendered by Government. 

Revenue expenditure is the payment incurred for the normal day-to-day running of government departments and various services that it offers to its citizens. The government also has other expenditure like servicing interest on its borrowings, subsidies, etc.

Usually, expenditure that does not result in the creation of assets, and grants given to state governments and other parties are revenue expenditures. 

However, all grants given to state governments and other parties are also clubbed under revenue expenditure, although some of them may go into the creation of assets. 

The difference between revenue receipts and revenue expenditure is usually negative. This means that the government spends more than it earns. This difference is called the revenue deficit. 

What is a capital budget? 

It consists of capital receipts and payments. The main items of capital receipts are loans raised by Government from public which are called Market Loans, borrowings by Government from Reserve Bank and other parties through sale of Treasury Bills, loans received from foreign Governments and bodies and recoveries of loans granted by Central Government to State and Union Territory Governments and other parties. 

Capital payments consist of capital expenditure on acquisition of assets like land, buildings, machinery, equipment, as also investments in shares, etc., and loans and advances granted by Central Government to State and Union Territory Governments, Government companies, Corporations and other parties. 

Capital Budget also incorporates transactions in the Public Account.

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