Budget 2024: 8 Interesting Facts About India’s Union Budget

    Budger 2024

    Budget 2024: On February 1, 2024, Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman will present the interim budget ahead of the Lok Sabha elections that will take place in the upcoming months. Given that this is the final budget of the current union government, many analysts anticipate the finance minister to propose some populist policies. Here are some fascinating details about India’s Union Budget, which will be revealed in just two days.

    First Interim Budget of India

    RK Shanmukham Chetty presented India’s first interim budget in 1947. Following India’s independence, a seven-and-a-half-year budget was presented to address the nation’s economic problems, which included a shortage of food grains, increased imports, and rapidly rising inflation.  Fourteen interim budgets have been presented since then.

    When interim budgets were free from big announcements

    When the current government first took office, interim budgets were confined to routine announcements; significant programs or rate reductions were avoided. This was almost two decades ago. But starting in 2004–2005, announcements on tax breaks, program extensions, and subsidies have been included in interim budgets. A Business Standard article claims that in the interim budget for 2004–05, former FM Jaswant Singh extended the Antyodaya Anna Yojana, reduced custom duty, and combined the 50% dearness allowance of central government employees with basic salary.

    Also Read: Budget 2024: 6 income tax rule changes that Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman announced last year

    India’s first budget was unveiled under the British era

    A Scottish economist named James Wilson, who had previously worked for the East India Company, submitted India’s first interim budget in 1860. With the help of distinguished economists like PC Mahalanobis, the budget that is being presented today has, nevertheless, undergone a considerable transformation.

     longest budget speech

    In terms of duration, Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman has delivered the longest budget speech in Indian history. In 2020, she spoke for two hours and forty-two minutes about the budget. Her speech that year, on February 1, 2020, started at 11 a.m. and lasted until 1:40 p.m. Because of her illness, Nirmala Sitharaman was unable to finish the long budget speech script. Later on, Om Birla finished the remarks.

    In terms of word count, her speech was still less than that of former Prime Minister Manmohan Singh’s 1991 speech. 18,650 words made up former prime minister Manmohan Singh’s speech as finance minister.

    interim budget speeches so far

    Since Indian independence, fourteen interim budgets have been presented. The most recent was presented by former Finance Minister Piyush Goyal in February 2019. Goyal’s speech for the presentation of the interim budget was 8,119 words long, the second-longest after RK Shanmukham Chetty’s in 1947.

    From purse to Bahi Khata, and finally to tablet

    The union budget’s revolutionary transition from a briefcase to a tablet was also led by Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman. By swapping out the outdated “budget briefcase” for a “bahi khata” in 2019, she gave the budget a more desi appearance. In 2019 instead of a briefcase, FM carried a red “bahi khata” during her first Budget. A paperless budget was later chosen thanks to the Covid pandemic. Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman used a tablet computer to present the Union Budget for 2021–2022.

    Maximum number of budgets

    Morarji Desai, the former prime minister of India, has presented the most budgets. He had made ten presentations of the budget. But Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman will be the first minister to present the most consecutive Union Budgets following the release of the upcoming interim budget.

    Year of the Union Budget leak

    When then-finance minister John Mathai was scheduled to present the Union Budget in the parliament in 1950, it was leaked despite the strict security maintained during printing. The printing of the budget was moved from Rashtrapati Bhawan to Minto Road following the leak. The process of printing the budget was moved to the basement of North Block after 1980.

    Halwa Ceremony 

    The Finance Ministry holds a “Halwa ceremony” more than a week prior to the Union Budget’s announcement. The Union Budget printing process gets underway with the ceremony. In Central Delhi, the ceremony is held in the basement of the Finance Ministry. All ministry employees work in seclusion for the next nine to ten days following the ceremony in order to protect the process’ confidentiality. The family is the only way to get in touch with them in an emergency since they are not connected to the outside world.

    The first-ever Union Budget was printed in Hindi

    English was the only language in which the Union Budget was printed until 1955. Nevertheless, the Annual Financial report was provided in Hindi and English starting in 1955–1956, though. FM CD Deshmukh started the custom at that time.

    Difference Between Interim Budget and Full-Year Budget

    The interim budget offers predictions for government spending, revenue, the fiscal deficit, and the financial outlook for the following few months. It is not, however, permitted to enact policy modifications that would influence the duties of the incoming administration.

    Generally, a budget for 2024 is split into two sections: one that examines previous year’s income and expenses and the other that lists projected costs for the following year. An interim budget has two parts: the first covers the income and expenses from the previous year, and the second only pays for necessities through the next election.

    However, a full year budget, sometimes referred to as the Annual Financial Statement, is a thorough financial strategy. For the entire fiscal year, it covers every facet of government revenue, spending, and policy changes. The full year budget, as opposed to the interim budget, offers a thorough schedule for the government’s financial operations throughout the year.

    Also Read: Budget 2024 Expectations: From CTT To GST Issue, Long-Pending Demands Of Commodity Market Participants

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