Budget 2024: Here's Some Interesting Facts About India's Union Budget - From Longest Speech To Halwa Ceremony, Paperless Innovations & Beyond

Budget 2024: Here's Some Interesting Facts About India's Union Budget - From Longest Speech To Halwa Ceremony, Paperless Innovations & Beyond

Since July 2019, Nirmala Sitharaman, India's first full-time woman finance minister, has presented five full budgets. Her upcoming interim budget presentation is poised to surpass the five-budget streak of notable predecessors like Manmohan Singh, Arun Jaitley, P Chidambaram, and Yashwant Sinha.

Oliviya KunjumonUpdated: Thursday, February 01, 2024, 09:07 AM IST
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Budget 2024: Here's Some Interesting Facts About India's Union Budget |

With only hours left, Union Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman will present the interim budget for the year 2024-2025 on Thursday, February 1.

Since July 2019, Nirmala Sitharaman, India's first full-time woman finance minister, has presented five full budgets. Her upcoming interim budget presentation is poised to surpass the five-budget streak of notable predecessors like Manmohan Singh, Arun Jaitley, P Chidambaram, and Yashwant Sinha.

Here are some interesting facts about the Union Budget of India throughout history.

1. The first Union Budget was presented on February 18, 1860, by James Wilson, who was the Finance Member of the India Council that advised the British monarch on Indian affairs.

2. The first budget after India gained independence was presented by R.K. Shanmukham Chetty on November 26, 1947. This budget was significant as it marked India's economic policies post-independence.

3. Interim Budget: In election years, the government presents an interim budget before the general elections. This budget outlines the expenditures for the first few months of the fiscal year until a new government is formed.

4. Until the year 2016, the Union Budget of India, outlining the government's financial plans for the upcoming fiscal year, was traditionally presented on the last working day of February.

5. Railway Budget Merger: Until 2016, India used to have a separate Railway Budget, presented a few days before the Union Budget. However, in a historic move, the Railway Budget was merged with the Union Budget to bring about more comprehensive planning and allocation of resources.

6. Halwa Ceremony: Before the budget is presented, a unique tradition known as the "Halwa Ceremony" takes place. The Finance Minister partakes in a ceremony where halwa (a sweet dish) is prepared and served to the entire finance ministry staff to mark the beginning of the printing of budget documents, and they are then required to stay secluded until the budget is presented.

7. In 2001, Finance Minister Yashwant Sinha broke the colonial tradition by shifting the budget announcement time from 5:00 pm to 11 am and moreover, in 2021, there was a significant technological shift with the move towards a paperless budget.

8. In 2020, Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman made history by giving the longest budget speech in India, lasting 2 hours and 42 minutes. However, she did not surpass the word count record set by former Prime Minister Manmohan Singh.

9. In 2019, Nirmala Sitharaman changed how the budget looked by using a 'bahi khata' instead of the usual briefcase. Then, due to the pandemic, she took it a step further in 2021-22 by presenting the budget on a digital tablet, going paperless.

10. Morarji Desai, former prime minister of India, presented a total of ten budgets, setting a record. However, Nirmala Sitharaman will join the league as the minister who presented the maximum consecutive Union Budgets, after the upcoming interim budget on Thursday, February 1, 2024.

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