Budget date decided much in advance of poll schedule: Jaitley

Finance Minister Arun Jaitley on Sunday said the date for presenting the Budget on February 1 was decided much in advance of the Election Commission’s announcement of Punjab polls three days later, dismissing Opposition allegation that the Budget was scheduled keeping in view the state elections.

He said there was a practice to present the India Budget 2017-2018 on February 28. But this year it would be presented on February 1. “The idea is to pass the Finance Bill by March 31, so that next year’s expenses could be started from April 1.”

Refuting the Opposition’s allegation, Jaitley said the date for presenting the Budget was decided much earlier, before the announcement of Punjab polls and it would be wrong to say the date was fixed keeping Punjab elections in view.

He was in Amritsar to address BJP’s ‘Vijay Sankalp Yatra’, which concluded on Sunday.

Political parties had voiced reservations against presenting the Budget three days ahead of the Punjab polls as they felt the Budget may be used to announce sops to influence voters.

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