Saturday, February 25, 2017

Budget 2017-18: Over 4K copies printed after ‘shortage’ last year

Indian Express‎‎‎: New Delhi: Saturday, February 25, 2017.
Citing “unnecessary criticism” due to shortage of Budget copies last year, the Budget division under the Ministry of Finance doubled the number of printed copies of 2017-18 Union Budget this year. After receiving communication from Ministry of Parliamentary Affairs, the Ministry of Finance directed printing of over 4,000 copies of 2017-18 Union Budget to avoid “any shortage and complaints of shortage” experienced last year.
The Ministry of Finance had printed total 2,042 copies of 2016-17 Budget last year, lower than 5,060 copies of 2015-16 Budget printed a year earlier, official records accessed by The Indian Express through a Right To Information (RTI) query showed.
“Due to the restricted number of copies printed, the Budget division faced unnecessary criticism. Keeping in mind, the number of sets given in 2015-16 and the demand for sets, it is proposed to print 4,025 English sets and 480 Hindi sets,” a Budget division official wrote in an internal communication in October 2016. Last year, the Ministry of Finance had to print additional 1,000 copies of 2016-17 Budget after both houses of Parliament, Reserve Bank of India and offices of Finance Minister and Ministers of State for Finance demanded more printed copies owing to a shortage.
The Budget division official in another set of internal communication said that they do not intend to print any additional copies this year. The maximum share of printed copies of Union Budget for 2017-18 were allocated to Lok Sabha with 650 English copies and 200 Hindi copies, followed by 525 copies to Press Information Bureau (PIB) and 425 copies to Rajya Sabha. Around 150 copies of Budget were allocated for circulation among secretaries and financial advisers of ministries.
The PIB had informed Budget division that 100 sets of 2017-18 Budget allocated for them would be insufficient to meet their demand and requested for at least 1,000 sets for distribution among media persons. In view of the measures for bringing down the expenses related to Budget preparation, the Standing Committee on Finance of 16th Lok Sabha had recommended constitution of expert group to review and rationalise the Budget documents. With an aim to make Budget preparation as cost effective, environment friendly, the Ministry of Finance last year rationalised the Budget copies to around 2,000. However, after distribution to all stakeholders, entire quantity got exhausted and therefore, it was decided to print over 4,000 copies of Budget for 2017-18.