Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman is scheduled to present the interim Union Budget 2024 for the upcoming fiscal year on February 1st.
It is anticipated that this budget may include announcements ranging from tax deductions to infrastructure and defence.
Traditionally, budgets were presented on February 28th, but a few years ago, this practice has been changed to February 1 by the Modi government
In 2017, former Finance Minister Arun Jaitley announced that the Union Budget would no longer be presented on the last working day of February.
A budget is a government document that outlines estimated expenditures and revenues for the upcoming fiscal year.
After its presentation, it requires approval from the parliament. This tradition dates back to the 1860s when officials of the East India Company initiated the practice.
Arun Jaitley, the former Finance Minister, announced the decision to present the budget on February 1st instead of the month's last day, putting an end to a 92-year-old practice established during the colonial era under British rule.
Jaitley highlighted that traditionally, the budget was presented at the end of February, leaving the government with insufficient time to formulate and prepare new policies set to be effective from April 1.
The shift to February 1 was made to allow for a more extended preparation period, ensuring the effective implementation of new policies at the beginning of the financial year.
Along with this change, the practice of presenting a separate budget for the railways, known as the Railway Budget, was also abolished by the then Finance Minister. The Railway Budget was merged with the Union Budget.
Until 1999, the Union Budget followed the colonial-era tradition of being presented at 5 pm on the last day of February.
However, Yashwant Sinha, who served as the Finance Minister in the Atal Bihari Vajpayee-led NDA government, advocated for a change. He proposed moving the budget presentation to 11 am, aiming for a more thorough analysis of the financial figures and fostering informed debates and discussions.
Since that decision, the Union Budget has consistently been presented at 11 am each year.