Union Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman will present Budget 2022 in a paperless format like last year. She was seen this morning carrying a tablet encased in a red sleeve with the national emblem embossed on it.
For the first time this year, there was no customary “halwa ceremony” – when the Finance Minister and officials have halwa a day before the Budget – because of Covid restrictions.
In 2019, Nirmala Sitharaman had kept the budget papers in a traditional “Bahi Khata”, as a statement against the colonial practice of carrying them in a briefcase.
The “budget briefcase” was a copy of the Gladstone Box, which British finance ministers still carry to parliament when presenting their budgets. Most Indian Finance Ministers continued the tradition.
Last year, the Budget was presented in a digital format for the first time in line with the government’s Digital India push. It was also seen to minimise physical contact in the time of Covid.
The “Union Budget Mobile App” was also launched last year to enable MPs and the public to access Budget documents digitally.
The App facilitates complete access to 14 Union Budget documents.
The word “Budget” originates from the French word Bougette or leather briefcase.
In 1860, the then British budget chief William E Gladstone used a red suitcase with the Queen’s monogram in gold to carry his documents and began the tradition of the ‘Gladstone Box’.
In 1947, India’s first Finance Minister RK Shanmukham Chetty carried a leather portfolio to present the first Budget.
Another Budget tradition that ended over the years was the time of the announcement. When the Atal Bihari Vajpayee-led BJP government was in power, then Finance Minister Yashwant Sinha presented the Budget at 11 am instead of 5 pm.