Union Finance Minister P Chidambaram will be walking a tightrope when he presents an interim budget for the coming fiscal year on Monday, doling out more funds to woo voters and tax cuts to support industry while projecting a lower fiscal deficit before elections.
The interim budget is actually a vote on account. The purpose is to obtain Parliament's approval for expenditure necessary to keep the government functioning till the next government passes the budget. - Vivian Fernandes, senior journalist.
The vote of account is not a ritual. It is a necessary thing. But governments will always use the opportunity to present their view especially since they have the nation's attention. - Vivian Fernandes, senior journalist.
With just two months left for the general elections, UPA II will present its last interim budget in Parliament today.
While the Railway Budget was reduced to a mere 14-minute show, people across the country await Congress-led UPA's last minute attempts to woo the voters ahead of polls.
Finance Minister P Chidambaram may dole out some sops while doing a tightrope walk to keep the fiscal deficit under check when he presents the interim budget for 2014-15 in Parliament today ahead of the Lok Sabha elections.
Along with the budget, he will present a vote-on-account to seek Parliament's sanction for spending till July.
By tradition, the interim budget does not contain proposals seeking to tinker with direct taxes, nor are there any policy announcements, although there may be some sops for the common man and sectors that need help.
Earlier, Chidambaram had indicated he may tweak excise duties and service tax rates in the interim budget in an apparent bid to boost the economy, but he may not pursue key reform legislation due to lack of political consensus.
It would be interesting to see if Chidambaram continues with the super-rich tax in 2014-15 as well, but indications are he may choose not to since it would need amendment of the law.
Finance minister P Chidambaram's interim budget booklet has 15-16 pages. He might take at least 30-35 minutes to complete it, if the Lok Sabha allows him. If there are any disturbances, he might cut it short.
It is called a budget before the big battle?
There will be a bigger debate on election. Less on budget.
The BJP is demanding that the suspension of 17 Seemandhra MPs should be revoked before a debate on Telangana. It might prevent Chidambaram from presenting it in the Lok Sabha.
The bigger question - Has the UPA government mismanaged the economy?
17 Seemandhra MPs demand revocation of their suspension. Sources say even the BJP is demanding the same.
8 Seemandhra MPs are still in the house. Most of them are ministers. Will they prevent PC from presenting the budgeting?
Suspended MP L Rajagopal says ministers from Seemandhra will protest in the Lok Sabha during Budget presentation.
Sanjaya Baru a native of Andhra Pradesh and a veteran journalist says that the Congress seems to have lost AP.
Economic policy expert Vivian Fernandes says there will be some grand statements.
Analysts feel that the interim budget will have no electoral impact. They say it is just a ritual.
Has the UPA failed to revive the economy? Most experts agree that it has failed.
GDP growth in 2013-14 is the lowest in a decade. Estimated growth is just 4.9%.
Indian Rupee also hot an all time low. Almost Rs.70 for 1 US Dollar.
Drop in investment due to political instability and policy paralysis.
Mohandas Pai says that the UPA-2 mismanaged the economy. Blames Pranab Mukherjee's tenure as Finance Minister.
In 1991 - the opposition leaders were kept in loop. The then PM P V Narasimharao gave a lot of freedom to key ministries.
After 24 years, the situation is entirely different. Opposition is on a war path and policy paralysis has affected the country.
Experts on CNN-IBN budget panel feel that the UPA-2 has miserably failed to revive the economy.
Sanjaya Baru on CNN-IBN budget show - It was an illusion that we were on right path and we would be the next super power.
Budget before ballot. More talks on politics and less on budget this time.
Watch Shereen Bhan of CNBC live from CII - She will be with a special panel.
Parliamentary Affairs minister on Budget-if it's disrupted today, FM can make any statement on any TV, there is nothing stopping him.
Corporate leaders want the government to recapitalise banks and give a big push to pending infra projects.
P Chidamabaram is presenting his 9th Budget. One short of Morarjee Desai's record of presenting 10 budgets.
E&Y CEO - P Chidambaram will be remembered for his focus on fiscal discipline.
If the Parliament is disrupted, the Finance Minister P Chidamabaram is likely to make a statement on TV channels.
Mohandas Pai - Perverse tax demand is damaging our economy.
Lok Sabha meets in another 5 minutes. Will the FM be allowed to present the Budget?
Finance Minister P Chidambaram to present the budget shortly.
P Chidambaram to read the interim budget. If he is not allowed, he may do it on Lok Sabha TV.
Lok Sabha meets. P Chidambaram lays the budget paper on the table.
This budget is actually an Vote on Account.
Various ministers are laying the paper on the table of the house.
For the first time the finance minister is not making Budget speech.