On the day appointed by the Speaker and for the time he may allot, the members of the Lok Sabha may discuss the whole or any of the principles involved in the budget. They may criticize the budget and or express their grievances against the government.
At this stage neither any motion can be moved, nor can the Budget be put to vote. The Finance Minister has the right to reply. The Rajya Sabha shall have no other business with the Budget beyond general discussion.
Vote on Account
It is a device to enable the government to meet some expenditure pending the vote on Demands for Grants. Normally the period covered by the Vote on Account is two months, and the amount sanctioned is one sixth of the total demand.
It is treated as a routine matter and passed by the Lok Sabha without discussion. In case of the Railway Budget, the Vote on Account is not taken, except in an election year. The device of Vote on Account was introduced in the Lok Sabha for the first time in 1951.
Demands for Grants
Besides the demand for grant for each ministry, the government makes a detailed statement of expenditure in respect of each Ministry/Department which it places before the Lok Sabha for its assent. At the time of discussion on this, motions can be moved for reducing the amount of any Demand for Grants.
These motions, called Cut Motions are usually tabled by the members of the opposition in an attempt to criticize any policy of the government or to draw its attention to any specific problem. They are divided into three categories mentioned below.
(i) Disapproval of Policy Cut – When a motion moved is, “that the amount of the Demand be reduced to Re 1.”
(ii)Economy Cut – When motion moved is “that the amount of the Demand be reduced by a specific amount”, and
(iii)Token cut – When the motion moved is “that the amount of the Demand be reduced by Rs 100.”
On the last day of the days allotted for discussion on Demands for Grants, the Lok Sabha Speaker puts all the outstanding demands for grants to the vote. This process is called Guillotine. This method has been devised to bring the debate on financial proposals to an end within a fixed time-frame. When Guillotine is applied, several Demands are voted by the Lok Sabha without discussion.
Supplementary and Excess Demand for Grants
If there is an imperative need of spending money on a new service which had not been anticipated at the time of passing the budget, the President causes to be laid before both the Houses of Parliament a Demand for Supplementary Grants which has to be passed by both Houses of Parliament before the end of the financial year.
Similarly, if the government has already spent money in excess of the amount sanctioned on a particular head, the President causes to be presented to the House a Demand for such excess. A Demand for Excess Grant is made after the expenditure has been incurred and after the financial year to which it relates has expired.
The acceptance of the Demands for Grants by the Lok Sabha does not by itself authorize the issue of money out of the Consolidated Fund of India to meet the grants. The money can be drawn from the Consolidated Fund of India only after the appropriate law for appropriation has been enacted. The Appropriation Bill is introduced in the Lok Sabha only after the Demands for Grants have been voted. The introduction of the Appropriation Bill cannot be opposed. This has to be recommended by the President of India and certified by the Speaker as the Money Bill.
The Finance Bill contains the proposal of the government for raising revenues. It is introduced in the Lok Sabha after the Finance Minister delivers his Budget speech. The Lok Sabha considers the bill after the Appropriation Bill has been passed. Passing of the Finance Bill is the final act of Parliament’s financial procedure.
Both the Appropriation Bill and the Finance Bill are money bills. They can be introduced only in the Lok Sabha. They cannot be introduced in the Rajya Sabha. Within 14 days of the receipt of the Bill from the Lok Sabha, the Rajya Sabha may make recommendations, but such recommendations are not binding for the Lok Sabha.