• Union Budget for Appropriation Bill 2018 - What you need to know

    As per Article 112 of the Indian Constitution, the Central Government of India is bound to present an Annual Financial Report, which is also known as the Union Budget, to the Parliament. This annual budget can be considered a detailed documentation of how the government plans to raise funds in the upcoming fiscal year and where funds may be spent during the same period.

    The Union Budget gives a record of the financials for three consecutive fiscal years, including the actuals for the past year, the estimates for the current fiscal year, and the estimates for the upcoming financial year. In addition to this, the Union Budget also includes the Appropriation Bill, which is to be passed by the two Houses of the Parliament, before it can get implemented on the 1 April.

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    What is the Appropriation Bill?

    The objective of the Appropriation Bill is to give the government the authority to withdraw the necessary capital from the Consolidated Fund of India in order to meet expenses that might occur during the fiscal year. Thus, after the completion of the General Discussions on the Union Budget Proposals and the Voting on Demands for Grants have concluded, the government introduces the Appropriation Bill to the Parliament.

    Features of the Appropriation Bill

    • According to Article 114 of the Constitution of India, the government cannot withdraw any amount of money from the Consolidated Fund of India, prior to it being passed by the Parliament and the State Legislature, and also having received the President’s assent within a period of 75 days of its presentation. Thus, once the assent is received from the President, the Appropriation Bill becomes the Appropriation Act.
    • The Appropriation Act allows the government to withdraw funds during the fiscal year from the Consolidated Fund of India. It is necessary for the bill to be passed for both non-votable and votable expenditures. Once the Bill has been passed by the Parliament and the State Legislature, no amendments in the amounts mentioned can be made.
    • If any inconsistencies arise between the amounts that were proposed and sanctioned and what was eventually spent by the government during the fiscal year, the same will be reported by the Comptroller and Auditor General of India (CAG) to the State and Union Legislatures. This excess expenditure incurred by the government will then be scrutinised by the Parliament and the State Legislature.
    • Expenditures of the government, such as repayment of public debts, expenses incurred by the judiciary, etc. are called Charged Appropriation since they are not generally voted on by the Parliament, and these expenses are charged on the Consolidated Fund of India, as per Article 112(3) of the Constitution of India.

    The Union Budget 2018 will, thus, include the Appropriation Bill as part of its docket, which contains around 16 other documents, in order to authorise the appropriation and payment of funds in and out of the Consolidated Fund of India for the upcoming financial year. The Appropriation Bill has also been a part of the previous Union Budgets, such as the Union Budget 2017, Union Budget 2016, the Union Budget 2015, etc. with varying financials.

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