In a departure from the British-era tradition, Union Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman was seen holding a red cloth folder bound by a string and emblazoned with the national emblem ahead of the presentation of the Union Budget on Friday.
This is the first Union Budget by a full-time woman Finance Minister in the country.
Chief Economic Advisor Krishnamurthy Subramanian said the minister had replaced the Budget briefcase — the iconic briefcase used by former finance ministers — with the traditional “bahi khata” in keeping with Indian tradition.
“It is in Indian tradition. It symbolizes our departure from slavery of Western thought. It is not a budget but a ‘bahi khata’ (ledger),” he was quoted as saying by ANI.
Nirmala Sitharaman was accompanied by MoS Finance Anurag Thakur, Finance Secretary SC Garg, Chief Economic Advisor Krishnamurthy Subramanian and other officials.
The Union Budget will be presented at 11 am in Lok Sabha.
The “budget case” tradition started in the 18th century, when the Chancellor of the Exchequer or Britain’s budget chief was asked to ‘open the budget’ while presenting his annual statement.
Earlier this year, then Finance Minister Piyush Goyal had carried a red briefcase before presenting the Interim Budget. Finance Minister Arun Jaitley before him carried a tan briefcase.
Following tradition, Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman earlier in the day called on President Ram Nath Kovind before presenting the Union Budget 2019 in the Parliament.
This is the first full Budget of Prime Minister Narendra Modi-led National Democratic Alliance (NDA) government after returning to power for the second time.
The Economic Survey 2018-19 tabled by Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman on Thursday has predicated 7 per cent GDP growth in FY20 on the back of anticipated pickup in the growth of investment and acceleration in the growth of consumption. This is higher from a five-year low of 6.8 per cent recorded in the previous year.
The survey outlines strategic plueprint to achieve Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s vision for $5 trillion economy. To become a $5 trillion economy by 2025, India needs to sustain a GDP growth rate of 8 per cent.