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Famous Snippets From Previous Budgets

Introduction

The ritual of presenting the Indian Budget is more than two centuries old, dating back to colonial times. India's first-ever Budget was presented by James Wilson in 1860, a Scottish economist and politician.

Additional read: What is the Budget? Union Budget for Beginners

After the independence of India, Finance Minister RK Shanmukham Chetty presented the free nation's first-ever Budget on 26 November 1947. In this article, we bring to you some of the most exciting histories of budgets in India since then.

      1. Inclusion of Regional Languages

Until 1955, the Indian Union Budget used to be printed in English. After that, the Budget has also been published in Hindi also.

      2. First Woman to Present the Budget

Indira Gandhi held the position of the first woman to ever-present the Union Budget of India in 1970 when she held the finance portfolio after taking over from Finance Minister Moraji Desai. Nirmala Sitharaman is only the second woman to present the country's Union Budget in the history of budgets in India.  

      3. Budget Presentation

Since the British times, the Union Budget was presented at 5 PM on the last working day of February. Then in 1999, Jaswant Singh changed the timing of the Budget and presented at 11 am. In 2017 when Finance Minister Arun Jaitley presented the Budget on 1 February. Since then, this has been the practice.

       4. Merger of the Rail and Union Budget

Finance Minister Arun Jaitley has also made history by merging the Railway and Union Budget since 2017. Until then, there were two separate sessions for both.

Additional read: What's an economic survey?

      5. The Black Budget

The Union Budget of 1973-74 is known as the "Black Budget" in India, presented by then Finance Minister Yashwantrao Chavan. It had a fiscal deficit of *₹550 crore because of the India-Pakistan war and a failed monsoon.

      6. The Dream Budget

The Budget of 1997-98 presented by former Finance Minister P Chidambaram is known as the country's "Dream Budget". It lowered tax slabs for individuals and corporates that won over the people of the country.

     7. Maximum Number of Budget Presentations by a Single Minister

Former Finance Minister Moraji Desai holds the honour of presenting the maximum number of Union Budgets. He presented the Indian Budget 10 times in Parliament. Desai is followed by P. Chidambaram, who presented it nine times and Pranab Mukherjee, who presented the Budget eight times.

      8. The Bahi Khata

Until 2019, Finance Ministers brought in the Budget papers in a briefcase. When Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman took over the full-time position, she brought in the documents in a traditional red cloth or Bahi Khata instead of a briefcase. This move was lauded for breaking the "British Hangover".

     9. The Longest Budget Speech

Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman has given the longest budget speech in 2020, which went on for about **160 minutes.

    10.  Going Paperless

Last year's Budget, the Union Budget of 2020-21, was the first Budget presented digitally. Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman went paperless to embrace digitization and be more sustainable.

*₹550 crore (source – The Economic Times as of 31st Jan 2021)

**160 minutes (source – Deccan Herald as of 24th Jan 2022)

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