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Business News/ Budget / News/  Budget 2024 date: February 1 vs February 28. Why Budget presentation date was changed?
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Budget 2024 date: February 1 vs February 28. Why Budget presentation date was changed?

In 2017, then Union Finance Minister Arun Jaitley announced that the Union Budget would no longer be tabled on the last working day of February as it used to be in the colonial era.

Budget 2024: Why Budget presentation date was changed? (Photo: iStock)Premium
Budget 2024: Why Budget presentation date was changed? (Photo: iStock)

Union Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman will rise in the Parliament to present the Interim Budget for fiscal year 2024-25 on February 1. Till a few years back, the budget was presented every year at the end of February. But why the parliamentary tradition was changed in 2017, and the Union Budget presented on February 1 instead of the month's end?

In 2017, then Union Finance Minister Arun Jaitley announced that the Union Budget would no longer be tabled on the last working day of February as it used to be in the colonial era.

Also Read | Budget 2024: Interim Budget vs Vote on Account. How the two are different?

Why the budget date was changed?

Besides getting rid of this colonial era tradition there was also a special reason behind this change. As the budget used to be presented on the last date of February, it was practically making it difficult to implement the provisions of the budget for the next financial year which begins the next day i.e April 1.

Also Read | Budget 2024: A quick guide on how to read the Budget document

To solve this problem then Finance Minister Jaitley suggested changing the budget date and in 2017 the Union Budget was presented at the beginning of February instead of the month end.

Not only the budget date, Jaitley also ended the 92-year-old British tradition to present a separate budget for Railways, he merged the Railways Budget with the Union Budget in 2017.

Why and when the budget timing was changed to 11 am?

Till 1999, the Union Budget was used to be presented at 5 pm on the last day of February. It was a British-India tradition, which was not changed even after independence. 

Also Read | Budget 2024: Interesting facts about the Budget presentation

It is also very interesting to know, from where the 5 pm budget presentation came. During the colonial period, the budget was presented in Britain at 11 am (local time) which was at 5 pm in India as the Indian time zone is 4.5 hours ahead of British Summer Time.

 In 1999, Yashwant Sinha, then Finance Minister in Atal Bihari Vajpayee-led NDA government, suggested that the Union Budget should be presented at 11 am. The idea behind the change was that it would give ample time for better analysis of numbers resulting in more informed debate and discussions.

Also Read | Budget 2024: What is Economic Survey? Will it be presented before Interim Budget?

After the approval, Sinha —breaking the British tradition—presented the 1999 Union Budget at 11 am, for the first time in the history of Independent India and since then the Union Budget has been presented every year at 11 am.

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Published: 03 Jan 2024, 06:00 AM IST
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