Union Budget 2023: From briefcase to tablet, a look at the journey of Budget briefcase
Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman will present the budget for the financial year 2023-2024 on Wednesday 1 February. (Photo credit: News9live)
Carrying a briefcase to Parliament during the budget presentation was an Indian tradition until 2019 when Nirmala Sitharaman chose to wear a bahi-khata instead.
News A Budget plans future savings and spending as well as the planned income and expenditure of the nation. A budget plans future savings and spending as well as the planned income and expenditure of the nation. The planning of the budget starts six months before the presentation date and goes through several steps. In 1991, then Finance Minister Dr Manmohan Singh carried a briefcase similar to the Gladstone box, although it was black.
New Delhi: Indian market is all set to see several changes in price sheet after Union Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman will announce the Union Budget for the financial year 2023-2024 on February 1. A budget is a financial document used to estimate future income and expenditure of the nation. The Budgeting process starts approximately six months before the presentation date. It involves phases that include issuing circulars to all ministries, consultations on proposals received, allocation of revenue, per-budget meetings and many efforts by various officials. The presentation of budgets has undergone several changes. The final budget document was originally carried in a briefcase, then moved to a bahi-khata, and is now presented through a made-in-India tablet. Let’s look at the story of the briefcase.
From briefcase to bahi-khat to in-India tablet
Over the years, we have seen the Union Finance Minister being photographed with a red briefcase in hand before the annual budget presentation. This briefcase went viral in 2019, after the then finance minister, Nirmala Sitharaman, decided to carry the documents in a bahi-khata, which has been used for decades in India by business owners and households to manage their accounts. to maintain. The government’s decision to use bahi-khata instead of a briefcase was seen as a renunciation of colonial legacy. Later in the year 2020, the government decided to bring documents on a digital platform, and the bahi-khata was replaced with a made-in-India tablet.
History of budget briefcase
The word ‘Budget’ is derived from the French word ‘Bougette’, meaning leather briefcase, which is why we have seen Finance Ministers carry a leather briefcase to Parliament over the years for the annual budget. Like most of India’s system of government, we have followed several traditions that originated from British rule, the tradition of carrying a briefcase for the budget presentation came from the United Kingdom in the 18th century. The first Budget box was designed in 1860 for the then Chancellor of the United Kingdom, William Ewart Gladstone, who commissioned a wooden box. It was lined with black satin and covered in scarlet leather with the Queen’s monogram embossed in gold. Until 2010, when the red Gladstone bag was officially retired, the same Gladstone box was part of the UK government.
For the first time after India’s independence, a copy of British tradition was carried on 26 November 1947 by the country’s first finance minister, RK Shankmukham Chetty, who carried the documents for the first Union Budget of independent India in a leather briefcase bag . Over the next few years, different finance ministers used different briefcases of different shades.
Different finance ministers with different briefcases
Yashwantrao Chavan walked to Parliament with a steel-lined suitcase in 1974, while the briefcase carried by Yashwant Singh during the 1998-99 budget had buckles and straps.
In 1991, a briefcase similar to the Gladstone box was carried by the then Finance Minister, Manmohan Singh. However, the color of the briefcase was black.
Former finance minister P Chidambaram was seen carrying a scarlet leather briefcase much like the British one and Arun Jaitley carried a brown briefcase in 2015.
By the way, not all finance ministers used the bag at the budget presentation. Some finance ministers, including TT Krishnamachari in 1957-58 and 1964-65, and Morarji Desai in 1959-1964 and 1967-70, carried their budget speeches in files.
Breaking from tradition
The tradition of carrying a briefcase was completely abandoned in 2019 by Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman. She replaced the briefcase with ‘bahi-khata’ to carry the budget documents. After buzzing about the move, she said: “For Budget 2019, I didn’t carry a bag. We are not a briefcase carrying government. A suitcase also indicates something else, ‘take a suitcase, give a suitcase.’ Modiji’s government is not a suitcase government.”