Budget in January IN COURT
The Union Ministry of Finance is considering a proposal by the Department of Economic Affairs to advance the presentation of the Union budget by a month to January 31 instead of February 28. The government says if implemented, the measure will help initiate revenue mobilisation and capital expenditure measures right from the beginning of the fiscal year. Usually, the budget is tabled in February end. But the release of funds comes only by July. Three to four months of the fiscal year are wasted in completing the formalities. By shifting the budget to January, all ministries will get a full year to spend what is allocated to them. If accepted, this could mean a second major shift in the schedule of the budget by the National Democratic Alliance ( NDA). The previous NDA government, under Prime Minister Atal Bihari Vajpayee, had changed the time of presenting the budget to 11 am, from the British era practice of presenting it at 5 pm, in 2001. The shifting of the budget is one of three major changes the government is looking into. It has formed a committee under former Chief Economic Advisor Shankar Acharya that has been tasked with studying the shifting of the financial year itself from the current April-March period to January-December. Union Minister for Railways, Suresh Prabhu has also suggested that the Railway Budget be merged with the Union budget. On August 22, the Supreme Court ordered the Delhi government to install radio-frequency identification devices to facilitate imposition of green cess on commercial vehicles entering the national capital. On August 24, the Gujarat High Court issued a notice to the National Highways Authority of India ( NHAI) against the widening of the national highway connecting Ahmedabad with north Gujarat. The notice has been issued in response to the petition filed by farmers from Gandhinagar district. On August 23, NGT imposed a fine of ` 100 crore on a Qatarbased shipping company, Delta Navigation, for pollution caused by an oil spill off the coast of Mumbai in 2011 by the MVRak. On August 19, the National Green Tribunal ( NGT) ordered the Alaknanda Hydro Power Co. Ltd. to deposit ` 9 crore with the Environmental Relief Fund Authority within 30 days as compensation to the victims of the June, 2013, floods in Srinagar. On August 24, NGT ordered that the 2.2 km long wall around a golf course in Assam's Kaziranga Wildlife Sanctuary was illegal and should be brought down within one month. The wall was erected by the Numaligarh refinery around the golf course built for its officials. On August 12, the Supreme Court said that the complaints of tribals in three districts in Madhya Pradesh regarding alleged harassment by forest officials and police inaction would be taken care of by the grievance redressal authority set up by it. On August 12, the Supreme Court held that an approval was given to Talaulicar & Sons Pvt Ltd for mining activity in the Saniem-Sacorda iron ore mine in South Goa district in 2007 without complying with the various requirements under the Environment Protection Act, including a public hearing.