Finance Minister Arun Jaitley presented the Union Budget for the financial year 2018-19 on February 1. Ahead of the budget presentation, the Economic Survey was tabled in both houses of the Parliament on Monday by Mr Jaitley. The Economic Survey said that India’s economy is “picking up quite nicely”, and will expand by 7-7.5 percent in 2018-19 to again become the world’s fastest-growing major economy.
- Ahead of the budget, the Finance Minister and other top officials take part in the halwa ceremony. The halwa ceremony is based on the tradition of having something sweet before an auspicious event. After the halwa ceremony, all government officials involved in the making of the budget are locked in North Block in a basement without mobile or internet. They can come out only after the Finance Minister presents the Budget.
- After Morarji Desai’s resignation from finance minister’s post in 1969, Indira Gandhi, the then Prime Minister of India, took over the Ministry of Finance to become the only woman to hold the post of the Finance Minister. She remains the only woman finance minister of India till date.
- Finance Minister poses with a leather briefcase on the budget day before he heads to make the budget speech. The origin of the tradition of carrying a leather briefcase and maintaining the secrecy around it has been passed down by the British to us. Chancellor of the Exchequer of Great Britain, William Ewart Gladstone, was the first one to use a red ‘budget box’ in 1860 to carry the budget papers. The Indian brown briefcase is a descendant of this colonial tradition. The first finance minister of independent India, R.K. Shanmukham Chetty, presented the country’s first budget on November 26, 1947. He was photographed with the leather bag just before entering the Parliament.
- The highest number of budget presentations have been made by former finance minister Morarji Desai. He presented 10 union budgets, followed by P Chidambaram’s 9 and Pranab Mukherjee’s 8.
- On February 29 in 1964 and 1968, Morarji Desai became the only finance minister to present the Union budget on his birthday.
- The 1997-98 Union Budget, presented by the Finance Minister P Chidambaram, was termed as “Dream Budget” as a number of economic reforms were done including lowering income tax rates, removal of the surcharge on corporate taxes and reduced corporate tax rates.
- The Budget for the fiscal year 1973-74 is known as the “Black Budget” as the nation had a deficit of Rs 550 crore.
- The Budget for fiscal year 1973-74 is known as the “Black Budget” as the nation had a deficit of Rs 550 crore.
- Till 2016 the Union Budget was presented on the last working day of February. Finance Minister Arun Jaitley, however, changed that tradition in 2017, the Union Budget was presented on February 1 and the tradition is likely to continue.