NEW DELHI: Terming a full budget ahead of the Lok Sabha polls as “unconstitutional”, former finance minister Yashwant Sinha on Monday said it would be “highly improper” to present it. Sinha claimed that no government has historically announced big ticket changes in policy or services in the past 12 interim budgets and it would be unethical for the present government to break tradition.
The statement comes amidst speculation that the government might present a full budget ahead of polls. Traditionally, the outgoing government presents an interim budget or vote on account ahead of the general election. Earlier, Union Finance minister Arun Jaitley said the fate of the budget will be decided by pressing economic issues.
Taking a dig at the government, Sinha said that he does not trust the figures furnished by the government in its economic surveys. “I don’t trust the figures given out by the government… If we are really the fastest growing economy, we shouldn’t have agrarian distress and jobless growth,” he said. Sinha questioned why there is a scarcity of jobs and agrarian distress, even as India maintains a growth rate of over 7 per cent.
The BJP government is expected to increase the income tax exemption threshold from Rs 2.5 lakh to Rs 5 lakh. It is also expected to announce economic reforms to aid the ailing farm sector. However, Sinha said the government is only authorised to announce a financial plan for a part of the year if it is an interim budget.
The budget will be presented by Union Finance Minister Piyush Goyal on February 1. It will be the last budget of the NDA government before the general elections.