Have you ever wondered what the word ‘budget’ means in the term Union Budget? While we understand a budget as an estimate of income and expenses over a fixed time, the word ‘budget’ derives its name from the French word ‘bougette’, which means ‘a small bag’.
If you ever look at the pre-budget pictures of our finance ministers, you will see them holding a small ‘budget briefcase’ before the introduction of the budget in the parliament. However, this tradition was broken by Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman in 2019 when she carried a Bahi-Khata instead of a briefcase. In India, the Union Budget is announced on February 01st.
Interesting, isn’t it? Here are some more interesting facts about the India Union Budget.
- The history of budget
In India, the history of budget dates back to 1860 when the East India Company introduced the concept of the Indian Budget. Subsequently, in 1869, the Liberal politician and economist James Wilson presented the first-ever India Finance Budget. He was also entrusted with introducing paper currency in India and a new tax structure.
After independence, Indian Finance Minister RK Shanukham Chetty presented the first budget of Independent India in November 1947. Subsequently, in 1950, Finance Minister John Mathai presented the first budget of the Republic of India.
- GST@ was first proposed in 2000
Finance Minister Arun Jaitley introduced the Goods and Services Tax (GST@) in India in 2017. However, this was not the first time GST@ was featured in the Union Budget presentation. In 2000, the Atal Bihari Vajpayee government first proposed the implementation of a GST@ regime. Also, in 2006, Finance Minister P Chidambaram, under the UPA II regime, also spoke about the implementation of GST in the Budget.
- The Union Budget was printed in English and Hindi from 1955
Until 1955, the Union Budget was printed only in the English language. However, in 1955, the Indian government decided to start printing it in English and Hindi. This was done since Hindi was one of the most widely spoken languages in the country.
Also, initially, budget papers were printed in the Rashtrapati Bhavan. However, in 1950, a section of the Union Budget was leaked while being printed. Initially, security was tightened, and the printing process was shifted to Minto Road, New Delhi. Subsequently, in 1980, the printing process was shifted to the government press at the North Block of the Secretariat Building.
- Some unique records by Finance Ministers
Finance Minister Morarji Desai has the distinction of presenting the budget 10 times during his political career. On the other hand, Finance Ministers Mr KC Neogy and Mr HN Bahuguna are the only FMs to have never presented a Union Budget despite being finance ministers. This was because Mr Bahuguna was the Finance Minister of the country during 1979-80 only for 5.5 months. Also, Mr Neogy, the Second Finance Minister of Independent India, held office only for 35 days.
- The Interim and Final Budget presentations were made by two different Finance Ministers in 1991-92
Usually, the Finance Minister announces the Union Budget in February every year, detailing the income and expenses for the next financial year. However, there are times when the government presents an interim budget for various reasons. This is technically like a Union Budget but is valid for a short period.
In 1991-92, Finance Minister Yashwant Sinha presented the Interim Budget. However, after the General Elections in 1991, Congress came into power, and Manmohan Singh was appointed the Finance Minister. He presented the Final Budget for the same FY.
- Longest and Shortest budget speeches
Union Budget speeches are known to be monotonous and long. In 1991, Dr Manmohan Singh gave a speech of around 18650 words. He quoted the celebrated writer Victor Hugo in his speech.
The shortest Budget speech was given by Finance Minister HM Patel in 1977 while presenting the Interim Budget. His speech consisted of 800 words only. The record for the longest Budget speech in India is held by the current Finance Minister, Nirmala Sitharaman. She spoke for 2 hours and 42 minutes while presenting the Union Budget for 2020-21.
- The only Finance Minister to have presented the Union Budget on his birthday twice
Former Finance Minister Morarji Desai is the only FM to have presented the Union Budget on his birthday twice – 1964 and 1968. His birthday, February 29th, coincided with the Budget presentation date.
The Union Budget includes a range of announcements across industries. This includes the life insurance sector too. When you buy a Tata AIA Life Insurance Policy, you get insurance coverage and tax* benefits under Section 80C of the Income Tax* Act, 1961. Every year, during the Budget presentation, taxpayers look forward to announcements that help them save taxes more efficiently.
Every year, individuals and businesses look forward to the budget presentation to look at the impact on their lives and money. These were some interesting facts about the Union Budget in India.