Making of the budget

Making of the budget

On Friday, finance minister Pranab Mukherjee will present the Union Budget for 2010-11 to Parliament, the current United Progressive Alliance government’s second budget. The Union budget is not just the first draft of the nation’s economic history; budget documents are perhaps the best source to decipher the political economy of an era. Behind the document is a long and complex policymaking process.

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“Sir, with these words, I commend the budget to the House." These words, traditionally said at the end of the finance minister’s budget speech mark the end of the first phase of the annual budget process.

This year, Mukherjee would present the Budget in the shadow of a raging debate on India’s fiscal health. It might be appropriate at this moment in time to reproduce some of the concluding words of independent India’s first budget speech delivered by R.K. Shanmukham Chetty on 26 November 1947: “If the fabric of the state is not built on durable foundations, it will be futile to try and fill it with the material and moral contents of a good life.

Also See A guide to the Union budget documents (Graphics)

The willing help and cooperation of all sections of the community is required in maintaining peace and order, in increasing production and in avoiding internecine quarrels—whether between communities or between capital and labour."

Graphics compiled by Sanjiv Shankaran; Illustrations by Jayachandran/Mint