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Budget on February 26
January, 11th 2010

The government will present the Union Budget for 2010-11 on February 26, two days ahead of the conventional date.

The budget will be presented on February 26, finance minister Pranab Mukherjee told reporters.

This year, February 28 is a Sunday while February 27 is a government holiday on account of Prophet Mohammads birth anniversary.

However, a final decision on the budget date will be taken by the cabinet committee on parliamentary affairs and approved by the Speaker of the Lok Sabha, Mukherjee said.

A day before the budget, the government tables the Economic Survey a health check on the state of the economy. The rail budget is likely to be presented on February 23 or February 24.

In its second term, the UPA government had presented its first budget in July last year after the general elections.

The finance ministry has already begun the exercise for the budget holding discussions with industry bodies amid the debate on whether stimulus measures should continue in the wake of the economy showing signs of recovery.

Mukherjee also said he was hopeful that growth could be around 8 per cent in the current fiscal against 6.7 per cent in the previous year.

The finance minister has asked the revenue department to make all efforts to achieve the revised direct tax target of Rs 4 lakh crore to compensate for the shortfall in indirect tax mop-up. The government had earlier set the target for 2009-10 at Rs 3.7 lakh crore

Till December, the department collected Rs 2.5 lakh crore. Officials said the indirect tax collections might fall short of the target by around Rs 22,000 crore this year on account of poor realisation of customs and excise duties.

The indirect tax kitty comprises customs, excise and service tax. The government had collected around Rs 2.81 lakh crore as indirect taxes in 2008-09.

The indirect tax collection, in the first seven months of the fiscal, shrunk over 21 per cent to Rs 1.26 lakh crore from Rs 1.61 lakh crore in the same period last year.

The government aims to earn Rs 6.4 lakh crore from both direct and indirect taxes in the current fiscal.

On goods and services tax, the finance minister said it would take seven to eight months for the government to bring in the legislation. It, thus, seems unlikely that the amendment to the tax structure will be tabled in the budget session of Parliament.

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