Should Union Budget be presented before elections?

Should Union Budget be presented before elections?

Should Union Budget be presented before elections?

Government is set to present Union Budget on February 1, just three days before Punjab and Goa go for assembly polls and 10 days before the first phase of polling in Uttar Pradesh. Opposition and other major political parties are against this and want to delay the budget until elections are over. They are of the view that this will bend the voting in favour of the ruling party.

Shiv Sena also came out in support of the opposition and urged their MPs to meet President Pranab Mukhejee and ask him to postpone the budget announcement in order to keep the voting fair. Will the government give in to this pressure or should Election Commission stay firm on the date for budget presentation?


1. A mere coincidence: Opposition and other parties are crying foul, claiming that the government knew the date of polls and accordingly decided to advance the budget. This rumor has been rubbished by representatives of EC. No communication was made between the government agents and EC members regarding the date of polls. It is only a coincidence that the polls are held after the presentation of budget.

2. People are looking forward to it: Yes, people are looking forward to being lured away with the Union Budget. Government is also at pressure in the present situation since one wrong move and people will lose faith in the government. We are only considering what happens if people are pleased which will in fact be a better situation. The government, on the other hand, must be under the pressure of what if people are left unpleased with the budget.

3. A good time to judge: Opposition, critics, leftists, everyone who thinks people follow Modi blindly should be glad for this reality check. People are not easily fooled these days. If they are being polarized, the fact is that they know they are and still choose to stick to one side. Demonetization and budget have got people hoping and praying for normalization.

4. Advantage: The decision to advance the presentation of the budget and its passage came in the light of ensuring that spending starts from beginning of the financial year. The budget is generally presented on the last working day of February which often means that the approval of the budget spills over to the next financial year, in the process delaying the start of new programs. The farming sectors misses on the implementation of schemes that are meant for the monsoon session.


1. Luring voters: The government will make attractive announcements in the budget which will directly be a vote appeal for the coming elections. People are sure to be impressed if the ruling party wants to impress them with a few extra expenses here and there. This will indeed be unfair to the other parties campaigning hard for the upcoming polls.

2. Why advance the dates? Even though EC denies any communication with the government before or after the announcement of dates of elections, it is clear that advancing the budget date has something to do with favoring the government agendas. Since polls can’t be held earlier, EC can still order the government to postpone the date of budget announcement.

3. Taking example: A very similar incident happened years ago and at that it should be noted that the Union Budget was presented in the middle of March, as opposed to March 1 which is the conventional date since at that time just like this situation elections were held in various states. If dates could be pushed back then, so can it be done now.

4. Mini-budget: On the eve of New Year, PM Modi announced a series of sops for farmers, women and small businessmen. Those should have normally been a part of the budget announcement and yet it was done earlier to appease people since perhaps the government was expecting a date postpone for the Union Budget at the time of elections.

5. Model code of conduct: Going by model code of conduct, it is clearly mentioned that no specific sops or schemes could be proposed in states where elections are being held. Presenting budget right before elections will be a direct violation of the model code of conduct and hence Union Budget should be postponed.

Election commission is yet to decide upon this matter and hence nothing could be predicted as the government is bent on not postponing while the representatives of other major political parties, including Shiv Sena, are crying foul over this matter.
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