Decoding Budgets: Unveiling the Distinctions Between Interim and Annual Budgets

Home » Blogs » Decoding Budgets: Unveiling the Distinctions Between Interim and Annual Budgets

Table of Contents


Budgets are fundamental to the financial management of any government, shaping the economic landscape and determining the allocation of resources. As you know, our finance minister Nirmala Sitharaman has announced our interim budget on 1st February 2024 and our full fledged annual budget yet to be announced. You must have a few questions on what is the budget, how it’s done and others. In this blog you will get to know all about budget. Let’s get into the topic!

The Basics of an Annual Budget

An annual budget is like a big plan for a whole year. It’s how the government decides where to spend money and how to get that money. Here’s how it works:

  1. Money In: The government gets money from different places, like taxes, fees, and maybe even loans. This money is called revenue.
    Example: Imagine your family gets money from your parents’ jobs, selling things, and maybe even some money from relatives. This is like the government getting money from taxes and other sources.
  2. Money Out: The government needs to spend money on lots of things, like schools, hospitals, roads, and even paying the people who work for the government. This is called expenses.
    Example: Just like your family spends money on groceries, rent, and maybe even some fun things like movies or toys, the government spends money on important things for everyone.
  3. Planning: The government makes a plan for the whole year. They decide how much money they think they’ll get and how they want to spend it.
    Example: Your family might make a plan for the month. They decide how much they can spend on groceries, bills, and other things they need.
  4. Balancing: The government tries to make sure they don’t spend more money than they have. They balance the money coming in with the money going out.
    Example: Just like your family tries not to spend more money than they have in their bank account, the government tries not to spend more money than they get in taxes and other ways.

In simple words, an annual budget is like a big plan for the government’s money for a whole year. They decide where they’ll get money from (revenue), what they’ll spend it on (expenses), make a plan, and try to balance it all so they don’t spend more than they have.

Also Read: Navigating Business Finances: Financial Planning & Strategies for FY 2024-2025

Key Features of an Annual Budget:

  • Duration: Covers a full fiscal year, usually 12 months.
  • Scope: Includes all sources of revenue and categories of expenditure.
  • Preparation: Involves detailed forecasting and planning.
  • Approval: Requires legislative approval before implementation.

Key Components of an Annual Budget:

An annual budget consists of several critical components that ensure a comprehensive financial plan for the government.

Revenue Estimates

  • Tax Revenue: Income from direct and indirect taxes.
  • Non-Tax Revenue: Earnings from government-owned enterprises, fees, and fines.
  • Grants and Aid: Financial assistance from other governments or organizations.

Expenditure Estimates

  • Capital Expenditure: Investments in infrastructure and development projects.
  • Revenue Expenditure: Day-to-day operational costs, including salaries and maintenance.
  • Debt Servicing: Payments for interest and principal on government debt.

Deficit/Surplus Calculation

  • Fiscal Deficit: When expenditure exceeds revenue, leading to borrowing.
  • Fiscal Surplus: When revenue exceeds expenditure, allowing for savings or debt reduction.

Financial Goals

  • Economic Growth Targets: Plans to boost GDP and economic activity.
  • Inflation Control: Measures to stabilize prices.
  • Employment Objectives: Programs to reduce unemployment and create jobs.

Unraveling the Interim Budget

An interim budget is like a temporary plan for the government’s money when they’re waiting to make a bigger, long-term plan. Here’s how it works:

1.   Transition Period:

  • Sometimes, when a new government is about to start or if there’s a delay in making a full plan (annual budget), they use an interim budget to keep things running smoothly in the meantime.
    Example: Recently our finance minister on the 1st of February has presented an Interim budget not an annual budget because when a new government is about to start in June 2024 after making a new government finance minister will present the annual budget of India.

2.   Basic Needs:

  • Interim budgets focus on the most important things that need money to keep going, like paying salaries to government employees, running schools, hospitals, and other essential services.
    Example: Just like your family would make sure to pay for rent, utilities, and groceries even during a move, the government makes sure to keep essential services running smoothly until they can make a full budget plan.

3.   Short Time Frame:

  • Interim budgets only cover a short period, usually a few months. They’re not meant to last for the whole year like annual budgets.
    Example: Your family’s temporary plan might only cover the first month or two in the new house until they can settle in and make a longer-term budget.

4.   Temporary Measures:

  • Interim budgets are like a temporary fix. They’re not as detailed or long-term as annual budgets but help keep things going until a proper plan can be made.
    Example: Your family’s temporary plan might not include big purchases or long-term commitments. It’s just enough to get by until they can make a more solid plan for the future.

In simple words, an interim budget is a temporary plan for the government’s money used during times of change or when there’s a delay in making a full budget. It focuses on essential needs for a short time until a longer-term plan can be put in place.

Also Read: Interim Budget 2024 Highlights

Components Unique to Interim Budgets

  1. Continuation of Essential Services: Interim budgets prioritize funding for essential services such as healthcare, education, defense, and public safety. This ensures that critical services continue to function smoothly during the transitional period.
  2. Routine Expenditures: Interim budgets typically cover routine expenditures necessary for the day-to-day operations of the government, including salaries for employees, utility bills, maintenance costs, and other ongoing expenses.
  3. No New Initiatives or Major Policy Changes: Interim budgets usually refrain from introducing new initiatives or major policy changes. Instead, they focus on maintaining existing programs and policies until a new government or the next budget cycle can implement comprehensive changes.
  4. Limited Capital Expenditure: Interim budgets may limit capital expenditure, such as investments in infrastructure projects or long-term development programs. This is because major capital projects often require extensive planning and budgeting beyond the scope of an interim budget.
  5. No Long-Term Commitments: Interim budgets avoid making long-term financial commitments or contractual obligations that extend beyond the interim period. This flexibility allows for a smoother transition to the subsequent annual budget without encumbering future budgetary decisions.
  6. Temporary Funding Allocations: Interim budgets may provide temporary funding allocations to cover urgent or unforeseen expenses that arise during the interim period. These allocations are typically limited in scope and duration, intended to address immediate needs until a more comprehensive budget can be enacted.
  7. Approval for Essential Expenditures: Interim budgets seek approval from the relevant legislative bodies or authorities for essential expenditures required to sustain government operations. This ensures transparency and accountability in financial management during the interim period.

Also Read: Updates In Indirect Tax – Interim Budget 2024

Legislative Processes for Annual and Interim Budgets

The legislative process for approving budgets involves several steps and varies for annual and interim budgets.

Annual Budget Approval Process:

  1. Budget Proposal: The finance minister presents the budget to the legislature (is the part of government that makes laws)
  2. Debate and Discussion: Lawmakers debate the budget’s proposals and implications.
  3. Committee Review: Specialized committees review the budget in detail.
  4. Approval: The legislature votes to approve or amend the budget.
  5. Implementation: Once approved, the budget is enacted into law. 

Interim Budget Approval Process:

  1. Interim Proposal: The finance minister presents the interim budget.
  2. Expedited Debate: A quicker debate process due to time constraints.
  3. Swift Approval: Rapid legislative approval to ensure no disruption in government operations.
  4. Temporary Implementation: The interim budget is enacted until a full budget is approved.

Implications on Government Operations

The type of budget in place significantly impacts government operations and economic stability.

Annual Budget Implications:

  • Long-Term Planning: Facilitates strategic planning and long-term projects.
  • Economic Stability: Provides a stable financial framework for the fiscal year.
  • Comprehensive Resource Allocation: Ensures thorough and planned distribution of resources.

Interim Budget Implications:

  • Continuity of Services: Ensures government functions continue without interruption.
  • Flexibility: Allows for quick adjustments based on changing circumstances.
  • Temporary Measures: May lead to short-term financial uncertainty until a full budget is approved.


Understanding the distinctions between annual and interim budgets is crucial for grasping how governments manage their finances. Annual budgets offer a comprehensive plan for a full fiscal year, focusing on long-term goals and stability. In contrast, interim budgets serve as stopgap measures, ensuring continuity of essential services during transitional periods. Both types of budgets play vital roles in maintaining government operations and economic health.


  1. What is the main difference between an annual and interim budget?

An annual budget is a comprehensive financial plan for a full fiscal year, while an interim budget is a temporary measure to manage finances until a full budget can be approved.

  1. Why are interim budgets necessary?

Interim budgets are necessary during periods of transition, such as elections or government changes, to ensure the continuity of essential services.

  1. How long does an interim budget typically last?

An interim budget usually lasts for a few months until a new annual budget is approved.

  1. What are the key components of an annual budget?

The key components include revenue estimates, expenditure estimates, deficit/surplus calculations, and financial goals.

  1. What makes interim budgets different from annual budgets?

Interim budgets focus on short-term financial measures and essential expenditures, while annual budgets provide a detailed, long-term financial plan.

  1. How is an annual budget approved?

The finance minister presents the budget, which is then debated, reviewed by committees, and voted on by the legislature before being enacted.

  1. What happens if an interim budget is not approved on time?

If an interim budget is not approved, it could lead to a disruption in government operations and essential services.

  1. Can an interim budget include new policy measures?

Typically, interim budgets do not include new policy measures; they focus on maintaining existing policies and services.

  1. What role do legislative committees play in budget approval?

Committees review the budget in detail, providing recommendations and ensuring thorough scrutiny before the final legislative vote.

  1. How do budgets impact economic stability?

Budgets provide a financial framework for the government, influencing economic stability through planned resource allocation, economic policies, and deficit management.

author avatar
Anjali Panda Senior Content Writer
Anjali Panda, a skilled wordsmith and literature enthusiast, earned her bachelor's degree in English Language and Literature from KiiT University. Her Highest Qualification Holding an MBA in Finance, she effortlessly blends academic knowledge with practical insights in her finance-centric content. Presently, Anjali is leveraging her financial expertise at BitWale, a startup, where she plays a pivotal role in optimizing the company's overall financial operations

Leave a Reply