Union Budget 2024: How Is Interim Budget Different From Full Budget?

With the highly anticipated Lok Sabha elections in India set to take place in April to May 2024, the upcoming budget will be interim, lacking significant policy announcements.

Union Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman on February 1 will present the interim Budget. The full budget for the fiscal year 2024-25 is expected to be announced once the new government is in place after the upcoming 2024 Lok Sabha elections.

For a comprehensive understanding, here is all you need to know about the interim budget, full budget, nature, differences, and more.

What is the interim budget?

An interim budget is a financial statement presented by the government during a transitional period, often in cases when a complete budget cannot be presented due to reasons such as an upcoming election or a change in government. This budget serves as a temporary solution to address pressing financial needs until a comprehensive, full budget can be put forth.

By allowing essential government operations to continue and providing funding for ongoing expenses, the interim budget plays a crucial role in navigating periods of change and uncertainty. Essentially, it bridges the financial gap until a more detailed and long-term budget can be carefully crafted and presented to the public.

How does it differ from a full budget?

The contrasting characteristics of an interim budget and a full budget lie in their scope and duration. Unlike a full budget, which encompasses a complete fiscal year and details the government’s overall financial agenda, an interim budget is a temporary solution presented during times of transition.

Its purpose is to address immediate fiscal needs until a more comprehensive and long-term plan is introduced. Typically, interim budgets prioritize consistency and steadiness, steering clear of significant policy shifts or new ventures.

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How does the presentation and approval process of an interim budget differ from that of a full budget?

The process of presenting and approving an interim budget in India has distinct differences compared to that of a full budget. One notable distinction is the expedited nature and limited scrutiny involved. Due to their temporary and time-sensitive nature, interim budgets require a more streamlined process with a pressing need for swift approval. This is crucial in addressing immediate fiscal demands during periods of transition or uncertainty. In contrast to the thorough examination and extensive deliberation that accompanies full budgets, interim budgets undergo a quicker approval process, with a focus on maintaining the continuity of key governmental functions.

What are the limitations and constraints associated with an interim budget?

Interim budgets come with significant limitations and constraints due to their temporary nature and the specific circumstances in which they are presented. They serve as temporary solutions to address immediate financial needs, lacking a long-term vision and strategic planning. As a result, they are not ideal for introducing new policy initiatives or making comprehensive changes, limiting their effectiveness in addressing long-term economic challenges.

Furthermore, the accelerated approval process of interim budgets may lead to reduced scrutiny from parliament compared to full budgets, potentially compromising the thoroughness of financial evaluation. This constrained timeframe often prioritizes continuity over innovation, hindering the government’s ability to implement comprehensive solutions.

After presenting the interim budget, when does the government typically present the full budget?

The interim budget is presented by the government when the general elections are scheduled in the same year. It serves as a temporary budget to meet the government’s expenses until a new government is formed after the elections.

After the general elections, when the new government is in place, the full budget is presented. The full budget is a comprehensive document that outlines the government’s revenue and expenditure for the upcoming financial year. Typically, the full budget is presented a few months after the interim budget, providing the newly elected government with an opportunity to outline its economic policies and fiscal priorities.

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This story was originally published on the Free Press Journal.

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