The budget of 1973-74 by the then Minister of Finance Yashwantrao B Chavan is called the ‘black budget’. The term ‘black budget’ is used when funds are allocated for secret or classified projects. However, the 1973-74 budget got the name because of the high budget deficit of Rs 550 crore. The budget was presented on February 28, 1973. In the budget, funds of Rs 56 crore was allotted for the nationalism of coal mines, general insurance and Indian Copper Corp. The reason for the allocation of the fund was to allow an uninterrupted supply of coal, taking into consideration the growing demand for coal in power, cement and steel industries. However, it is said that the over the years, the decision to allot fund had an adverse impact on the productivity of India’s coal production, leaving the country to hugely depend on imports. To add it was the situation of drought and war in Bangladesh.
The Free Press Journal’s editorial piece dated March 1, 1973 calls the budget ‘a conservative budget’. The editorial reads, “The only redeeming feature in an otherwise harsh budget presented by the Union Finance Minister, Shri Y.B. Chavan, is that he has taken the first step forward to bring in agricultural incomes into the tax-net to cover the huge deficit if Rs 335 crore in the next financial year. This task was by no means enviable. The current year's budget deficit amounted to Rs 550 crores in view of the increases in defence expenditure, food subsidies and the costs of take-over of general insurance and some other companies.”
Read the entire editorial piece here.
(Compiled by Sonali Pimputkar)