Vote on Account and Interim Budget
The Appropriation Bill and Finance Bill are presented in the month of February, and they take their own time to become act. In order to keep the Government functioning, the House is asked to vote usually two months’ funds i.e. approximately 1/6th of the total estimated expenditure under various grants. This is called Vote on Account. Vote on Account is passed after general discussion on the Budget. Usually it is treated as a formal matter and is passed without discussion. Vote on account is as per provisions of Article 116 of the Constitution. This makes clear that Vote on Account __:
- Can be passed on occasions when government needs some money on its disposal to keep running the administration till appropriation act is passed.
- Related to only taking money out of Consolidated Fund of India and thus limited to expenditure side
- Normally related to expenditures of 2 months only that is equivalent to 1/6th of the total budget; but that is NOT a rule. In 2004-05, the NDA Government sought for a Vote on Account for Four Months. In fact, during election year or when it is anticipated that the main demands and appropriation bill will take longer time than two months; the vote-an-account may be for a period extending two months. Typically this period does not exceed six months, as that is the maximum gap possible between two sittings of the Parliament.
- Not related to Taxation matters or revenue side of budget
- Can be passed by all governments whether incumbent or regular or caretaker, however, Vote On Account becomes of special importance when the elections are underway and a caretaker government is in place.
While a vote-on-account deals only with the expenditure side of the government’s budget, interim budget is a complete set of accounts, including both expenditure and receipts. When a government presents Vote on Account as a part of its Budget exercise; two appropriation bills viz. Appropriation (Vote on Account) Bill and Appropriation Bill of that year are passed. For example, the current (outgoing) Lok Sabha has passed Appropriation (Vote On Account) Bill, 2014 authorising the government for withdrawal of Rs 20,30,334 crore from the Consolidated Fund of India for expenses during the first four months of the new financial year 2014-15.
Interim Budgets also can be presented by all governments whether incumbent or regular or caretaker, however, Interim Budget becomes of special importance when the elections are underway and a caretaker government is in place. It can also be presented when a new Government has recently sworn in.
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