Ahead of the Budget Session of Parliament that will begin on Thursday, Rajya Sabha Chairman M Venkaiah Naidu and Lok Sabha Speaker Sumitra Mahajan have called separate all-party meetings. Sumitra Mahajan has called a meeting on Wednesday, while Venkaiah Naidu has invited floor leaders of all parties on Thursday morning before the commencement of the session. Both Vice-President Naidu and Sumitra Mahajan have called the meeting for the smooth functioning of their respective houses during the session, officials said. The Budget Session will be the last parliamentary session of the Prime Minister Narendra Modi-led government, before the general elections due this year.
Beside these two meetings, the government is also expected to call a similar meeting of leaders of all parties from both the Houses on Wednesday, which the prime minister may also attend. The interim Budget will be tabled on February 1 and both the Houses will remain in session till February 13.
Political pundits say that the Interim Budget is like the election manifesto of the ruling party. Many feel that this would be the last chance for the Modi government to impress the masses
Meanwhile, a CAG report on the Fiscal Responsibility and Budget Management (FRBM) has said that the government should frame a policy on off-budget financing and sources of such funding in view of its fiscal implication.
In the report tabled in Parliament Tuesday covering fiscal 2016-17, the Comptroller and Auditor General of India (CAG) said off-budget financing was being used to defer fertiliser arrears, food subsidy bills and outstanding dues of Food Corporation of India (FCI) through borrowings.
It said that off-budget financing being outside the parliamentary control has implication for fiscal indicators as they "understate" government's expenditure in the year by keeping them off the budget.
"Such off-budget financial arrangement, defers committed liability (subsidy arrears/bills) or create future liability and increases the cost of subsidy due to interest payment," the report said.