The decks have been cleared for Union Budget to be rolled out on February 1, as the Supreme Court has quashed a petition seeking postponement of the Budget, in view of elections in States such as Uttar Pradesh. The petition had pointed out that the Budget can be used to influence the outcome of assembly polls being held in various states. It further stated that as per Election rules, neither the center nor state is allowed to announce populist schemes just before the elections, as it could skew the votes in favor of a particular political party.
However, the Supreme Court has rejected the claims, saying that the Union Budget does not have anything to do with the State budget, which is announced separately by respective states. The panel hearing the case also said that State elections are held so frequently that if the Center follows their timelines, it would never be able to announce the Union Budget. “Throughout the year, there may be elections in different states, so should the center not present the budget?” the judges questioned the petitioner.
The decision to roll out the Union Budget a month earlier than usual was taken last year by Prime Minister Narendra Modi. This year’s Union Budget has been synced with the budget session of the Parliament, which will begin on January 31. On that date, the government is likely to present the Economic Survey, followed by the Union Budget on February 1.