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|January 7, 1999||
Budget likely to be advanced by a day or two
The finance ministry is in a dilemma whether to present the Union Budget for 1999-2000 in the Lok Sabha on February 28 which happens to be a Sunday or to have it a day or two earlier.
According to constitutional experts, the budget should be presented on the last working day of February. If the government went by this suggestion, the budget presentation would be advanced by a day or two.
Sources said no final decision has been taken in the matter. Another proposal under consideration of the finance ministry is to advance the presentation to noon time in a bid to break away from the colonial past.
The continuing practice of presenting the budget at 1700 hours harks back to the days of the British regime when the five-and-a-half hour time difference with the Greenwich Mean Time was taken into account (according to which 1700 Indian Standard Time will be 12.30 GMT).
There is also another viewpoint that presentation of the Budget at 1700 hours has advantages too since several tax proposals come into effect forthwith and leave no scope for speculation in the commodities and stock market.
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