Hidden gems from Budget documents

February 25, 2015 06:56 pm | Updated November 17, 2021 02:11 am IST - NEW DELHI

A look through the Budget documents provides ample information on the Government and how it functions.

A look through the Budget documents provides ample information on the Government and how it functions.

So you think the Budget is just for economy geeks?

That’s little wonder given how obscure the over dozen books that are called the ‘Budget Documents’ are. Willing miners, though, will find tucked away in them gems of fascinating information about the Government and how it is run.

The thinnest — the Budget speech — gets all the attention but the other documents contain the interesting facts and figures, which largely go unnoticed by most commentators.

For instance, to know the number of employees the Government of India has on its rolls, look up the detailed tables on estimated strength in the royal blue book or the Expenditure Budget Volume 1.

According this table in the July Budget documents, the Centre will have just under 36 lakh employees on as March 1, 2015, a third of which are the over-13-lakh staff of the Indian Railways.

At the end of the yellow book — the Receipts Budget — is the listing of the highest to the lowest taxed sectors. Since the Government gives a variety of sector-specific tax exemptions the effective tax rate across industries varies.

At last count (in July) the average of all industries was 22.44 per cent. Security service providing agencies were the highest taxed industry. They are paying tax at the rate of 35.62 per cent. Possibly a penalty for the competition they give to public security forces!

The lowest taxed are mining contractors. They pay tax at the rate of 6.9 per cent, which is not surprising given the number of mining magnates the Lok Sabha has had as members in recent years.

For a real picture of how much the Government spends, head to the orange book — the Expenditure Budget Volume 2.

If you have ever wondered how much pension India pays retired defence servicemen, the July Budget estimated these during 2014-15 to be Rs. 50,966.95 crore.

Or, if you are curious about how much the upkeep of the Presidential Estate’s costs, the orange book is where the details are provided. The last budget allocated Rs. 38.25 crore for the expenditure on what is technically called the household establishment of the President on account of salaries of the staff and officers, office expenses and purchase and maintenance of vehicles. This allocation includes Rs. 18 lakh provided for the salaries and allowances for the President and the Rs 13.85 crore for the establishment related to expenses of his staff and Secretariat officers including their office expenses.

If these teasers have you wanting to have a go at the budget documents for more hidden gems, happy hunting!

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