Ahead of the union budget 2023, let’s take a look at some of the most interesting facts from the history of the Indian budgets.
For the first time ever in 2021, the Union Budget for the financial year 2021-22 was presented in a paperless format, owing to the Covid-19 pandemic. Following the trend, the budget for the consequent year (budget 2022-23) was also presented in a paperless format.
Former PM Indira Gandhi became the first woman to present the budget in history when she presented the budget for the financial year 1970-71. Then in 2019, Nirmala Sitharaman became the second woman in history to present the union budget for the financial year 2019-20.
Before the year 2017, the Union Budget and the railway budget were presented separately. After being presented separately for over 9 decades, the railway budget was incorporated into the Union Budget in the year 2017 and presented as a single unified budget.
Up till the year 1950, the Union Budget was printed at the Rashtrapati Bhavan. However, it got leaked in the year 1950, so the venue of the printing had to be shifted to a different printing press in New Delhi. In the year 1980, a government press was set up in the North Block of New Delhi that also handled printing of the Union Budget
The first-ever budget to be presented in India was introduced on April 7, 1860, when a Scottish economist known as James Wilson of the East India Company presented the Indian budget to the British monarchy. The first-ever budget for an independent India was presented on November 26, 1947, by R K Shanmukham Chetty, who was the Finance Minister at the time.
Before the year 1955, the Union Budget was only presented in the English language. However, since the budget of 1955-56, the Union Budget has been presented in both Hindi and English, and the practice continues to this day.
Generally, the Union Budget is presented by the Finance Minister. Former PM Jawaharlal Nehru was the first Prime Minister to present the budget, when he presented the budget for the financial year 1958-59.
Before the year 1999, the Union Budget was always presented at 5:00 pm as a regular practice, continued from the colonial era. However, former Finance Minister Yashwant Sinha altered the official time of presentation of the Union Budget to 11:00 am in 1999, and the practice has continued since.