What does the Budget consist of?
Take a look at the table graphic below. This document titled, Budget at a Glance, is the best document to understand the components of the various types of figures in the Budget.
The Union Budget 2017–18 consists of the following:
(a) Actuals for 2015–16,(b) Budget Estimates for 2016–17,
(c) Revised Estimates for 2016–17, and
(d) Budget Estimates for 2017–18.
The Actuals for 2015-16 may be represented as such but they STILL would be PROVISIONAL only. This means that these figures are NOT the final figures for 2015–16 but are subject to further revision. In fact, the final figures for 2015–16 will only be available toward the end of Financial Year 2016–17 (or Fiscal Year ’17).
Budget Estimates (BE) relate to the figures which the Finance Minister set out in his Budget Speech last year (i.e., on 28 February 2016) for the Financial Year 2016–17.
However, all figures – related to revenue collection, expenditure, other allocations – are subject to change. These numbers are mere ESTIMATES and not actuals. As the year progresses, such figures may sometimes need to be revised. For example, if there is low industrial and agricultural activity (meaning lower economic output), tax collections may dip. This, in turn, will reduce the government’s Revenue Receipts.
In such case, the Government may revise the Budget Estimates (made in the Budget). Such altered figures are labeled Revised Estimates (RE). These RE are listed in the third column.
In the fourth and last column, you will find Budget Estimates for the coming Financial Year 2017-18. These figures reflect the various estimates made by the Government in terms of Receipts (including tax collections) and Expenditures (including interest payments and salary payments to government employees).