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Here's why the government advanced the Budget date
January, 31st 2018

Last year, the government decided to table the Budget on February 1, doing away with the tradition of presenting it on the last working day of February.

This move eliminates the need to obtain approval for expenditure planned in next year's Budget. The Budget before a general election is usually vote-on-account, where expenditure is planned only for the two months preceding the elections. Vote-on-accounts typically do not involve changes to tax slabs or new schemes.

An early budget also gives individual government departments and other spending authorities a month of extra time to plan and regulate expenditure. It also helps states get funds for schemes.

One criticism of advancing the budget date is that there is lesser data to be analysed. Another criticism is that the changed dates of the session won't allow Parliament and standing committees enough time to deliberate on the Bill.

According to a report by The Hindu, ministers and their officers are distracted for about 10 days in January due to Republic Day celebrations.

The Centre had announced its decision to advance the budget date in September 2016. This was not the only major decision announced then, as the government also announced its decision to do away with a separate rail budget and merge it with the Union Budget.

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