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FinMin to initiate Budget exercise nextweek

FinMin to initiate Budget exercise nextweek
This might be this govt's last Budget before 2019 general elections

Work on India's first post-goods and services tax (GST) Budget will start next week, with the finance ministry issuing time lines for different processes that will culminate with its presentation in February.

It may also be the current government's last full-fledged Budget, as general elections are due in 2019.

Even though independent India's biggest tax reform of GST was implemented from July 1, the Budget for 2017-18 (April-March), had followed the practice of tax revenue projections under the heads of customs duty, central excise and service tax, alongside direct tax numbers.

With excise duty and service tax being subsumed in the GST, the classifications will undergo change, an official said.

While a new classification for revenues to be accrued from GST will be included in the Budget for next fiscal year, for the current year two sets of accounting may be presented — one for actual accruals during April-June for excise, Customs and service tax, and the other for July-March period for GST and Customs duty.

The official said that as the GST rates are decided by a GST Council, headed by the finance minister and comprising of representatives of all states, the Budget for 201819 will not have any tax proposals concerning excise and service tax levies.

Only proposals for changes in direct taxes — both personal income tax and corporate tax, besides Customs duty — are likely to be presented in the Budget along with new schemes and programmes of the government.

This will be Finance Minister Arun Jaitley's fifth Budget in a row.

According to practice, a vote-on-account or approval for essential government spending for a limited period is taken in an election year and a full-fledged Budget is presented by the new government.

While P Chidambaram had presented the previous government's vote-on-account in February 2014, Jaitley had presented a full Budget in July that year.

The official said the finance ministry will next week issue the Budget circular and start consultations with other ministries from October for Revised Estimates (RE) of expenditure for the current fiscal year.

The Business Standard , New Delhi, 11th September 2017

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