Trace the evolution of Budget in India since East India Company rule.

Model Answer:
A rough budget of East India Company was prepared in 1790.After the end of East India’s Company’s rule, India’s first budget was presented on February 18, 1860 by James Wilson, a Finance Member of the India Council. The Finance Member’s work was to advise the Viceroy on financial matters.
The Morley-Minto Reforms of 1909, granted the legislatures to vote separate items in the budget, but the budget as a whole could not be voted upon.The Finance Member had to present his estimates to the Central Legislature in first quarter of every year. The Finance Member’s presentation was followed by discussions on Budget proposals. During discussions, the members of the legislature could propose alterations in tax provisions, loans and grants to local government. The Finance Member was able to accept or reject these proposals but he needed to justify why he accepted some proposals and why rejected others. The first budget of Independent and united India was presented by John Mathai in 1949-50.At present, budget is introduced in the parliament as per Article 112 of the Indian Constitution, which says that the President shall in respect of every financial year cause to be laid before both the Houses of Parliament the Annual Financial Statement commonly referred to as the Budget Statement.
Initially, the Railway budget was part of the general budget. On the basis of recommendations Acworth Committee, the Rail Budget was separated in 1924.Railway budget is laid 15-20 days before the general budget. That system follows till date. Recently, the Bibek Debroy committee has recommended abolishing the separate Railway Budget in a period of five years. (261 words)

Question for UPSC Mains:
Trace the evolution of Budget in India since East India Company rule.

Published: February 6, 2016 | Modified:June 27, 2019

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