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Interim Budget 2019: Constitutional Provisions and Social Sector

  • 02 Feb 2019
  • 5 min read

Constitutional Provisions

  • According to Article 266 of the Constitution, Parliamentary approval is required to draw money from the Consolidated Fund of India.
  • Besides, Article 114 (3) of the Constitution stipulates that no amount can be withdrawn from the Consolidated Fund without the enactment of a law (i.e. Appropriation bill).
  • The passing of Appropriation bill takes time and usually goes on till the end of April. But the government needs money to carry on its normal activities after 31st March (the end of the financial year).
  • To overcome this functional difficulty, the Article 116 of the Constitution has authorised the Lok Sabha to make any grant in advance in respect to the estimated expenditure for a part of the financial year, pending the completion of the voting of the demands for grants and the enactment of the appropriation bill. This provision is known as the ‘vote on account’.
  • Vote on Account was frequently used until 2016 when the Budget was presented on the last working day of February.
  • However, since 2017, the budget presentation date was advanced to February 1. This helped the government to use almost 2 months time to get the full-budget passed in the same financial year.
  • Since 2017, Vote on Account is not usually used as part of the government budgeting process, unless in special cases like an election year.
  • An outgoing government presents only an interim Budget or seeks a vote on account.
  • An Interim Budget is not the same as a 'Vote on Account'. While a 'Vote on Account' deals only with the expenditure side of the government's budget, an Interim Budget is a complete set of accounts, including both expenditure and receipts.
  • However, the estimates are presented for the entire year, as is the case with the regular Budget. Having said this, the incoming government has full freedom to change the estimates completely when the final Budget is presented.

Social Sector

  • Health
    • For the government’s ambitious flagship scheme for universal health insurance, Ayushman Bharat, the government has increased the allocation by 166% over past year (Rs 6,400 crore from Rs 2,400 crore).
    • An additional allocation of Rs 250 crore is provided under the National Urban Health Mission for building wellness centres.
    • Allocation to the Rashtriya Swasthya Bima Yojna, which provides health insurance to families below the poverty line, increased by 142%.
    • Setting up of a new - the 22nd AIIMS in Haryana announced.
    • Allocation for Integrated Child Development Scheme (ICDS) is being increased from Rs.23,357 crore in 2018-19 to Rs.27,584 crore in 2019-20.
    • The allocations for National Health Mission that covers various health services such immunization, neonatal care, ASHA workers, Vector Borne Diseases, TB, Leprosy and communicable disease grew 3.46%.
    • Swachh Bharat Mission’s allocation decreased to Rs 12,750 crore from Rs 16,978 crore last year.
  • Poor, Backward and Vulnerable Sections
    • 25% additional seats in educational institutions to meet the 10% reservation for the poor.
    • Targeted expenditure to bridge urban-rural divide & to improve quality of life in villages. The Government to make 1 lakh villages into Digital Villages over next five years.
    • All willing households to be provided electricity connections by March 2019
    • A new committee under NITI Ayog to identify all the remaining De-notified nomadic and semi-Nomadic tribes.
    • New Welfare development Board under Ministry of social justice and empowerment for development and welfare of De-notified nomadic and semi nomadic tribes.
  • Education
    • The fund allocation for the National Education Mission has been increased by about 20%. The four prominent schemes under National Education Mission are: Sakshar Bharat, Sarva Shiksha Abhiyan, Rashtriya Madhyamik Shiksha and Teacher training programs.
    • National programme on Artificial Intelligence (AI) has been envisaged by the government, which also includes education and training of youths for AI-related jobs.
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