Vote on Account

A vote on account is a provision made in the constitution of India to allow the government to withdraw funds from the Consolidated Fund of India to meet their expenses during the period between the end of the financial year and the passing of the new budget.

Need for Vote on Account

A vote on account enables the government to withdraw funds for a short term period typically spanning 2 months until the budget is approved by the Parliament. This provision is necessary as the budget approval process often extends into the new financial year due to parliamentary discussions and deliberations over the budget proposals. The vote on account is taken up for discussion after the Budget speech is concluded.

Time Period

The vote on account sanctioned is generally valid for two months from April 1 to May 31. This period may be extended if the budget approval process requires more time. For instance, in 2015 the vote on account was approved to be valid until June 30 since the budget process got extended.

What does the Vote on Account entail?

The vote on account specifies the total amount that can be withdrawn from the Consolidated Fund of India and the purposes for which this amount can be appropriated. However, the amount is generally restricted to 1/6th of the estimates of total expenditure specified in the preceding year’s budget. It enables government ministries and departments to carry on their work during this interim period.

Importance and Significance

The vote on account has important significance in government functioning allowing it to pay salaries, ongoing programs, projects and schemes. If the vote on account is not approved, it can adversely impact the delivery of essential government services and responsibilities due to lack of access to funds. The provision ensures continuity in governance and that expenses incurred during this period are later ratified with the budget approval.

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