Govt can present Budget on Feb 1, but no talks of schemes in poll states: EC

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The Election Commission of India on Tuesday allowed the government to present Union Budget on February 1.

The ECI said while doing so specific announcement in regard to the five poll-bound states cannot be made, adding that the government should also not recount achievements in regard to these states in the Budget speech.

In a communication to the Cabinet Secretary, the ECI also re-circulated its March 2009 advisory suggesting that the states may go in for vote-on-account in view of the General Election.

The ECI order of January 23 was released officially this morning by its spokesperson Rajesh Malhotra.

Polling to elect assemblies in the states, including Goa, Punjab, Manipur, Uttarakhand and Uttar Pradesh, is scheduled to be held between February 4 and March 8.

A combined opposition had petitioned the ECI urging it to restrain the Central Government from presenting the Union Budget on February 1, as announced.

The opposition had argued that the Budget proposals could influence voters.

In its letter, the opposition leaders had suggested that the government could present the Budget on March 9, a day after the voting is over.

The Budgets session of Parliament was advanced this year, and the earlier practice of presenting the Union Budget on the last day of February has also been changed from this year.