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Budgeting for New Normal: Nirmala Sitharaman's 'Made in India' iPad for First-Ever Paperless Budget

Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman seen carrying a tablet for a paperless budget on Monday. ANI photo

Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman seen carrying a tablet for a paperless budget on Monday. ANI photo

A tablet covered in a red velvet case bearing the Government of India emblem, has now replaced the iconic Bahi khata and the historic Budget briefcase.

It was already conveyed that the Union Budget 2021 was going to have many firsts given the pandemic. The government had announced it would be a paperless budget and Nirmala Sitharaman was seen carrying a 'Made in India' iPad instead of her iconic Bahi khata, trying to adhere to a new normal, given restrictions due to Covid-19.

The iPad made its debut in the 2021 budget, replacing its predecessors — the Bahi khata and the historic budget briefcase.  She was seen holding it up to the media on Monday morning. It was inside a red case bearing the Government of India emblem. Reports suggest it is made in India iPad, promoting the government's Atmanirbhar Bharat initiative.

Also read: Union Budget 2021 Live Updates

It is tradition for the finance minister of the country to carry a budget briefcase that has the precious papers deciding the future of the Indian economy. While the briefcase was more western, taking from our colonial past, Sitharaman had replaced it with a Bahi khata.

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But thanks to Covid-19, this tablet has found place in history.

In 2019, Finance Minister Sitharaman ditched the colonial legacy of a Budget Briefcase for a Bahi-Khata to carry Union Budget Papers. The tradition of carrying the Budget briefcase was handed over to us by the British. India's Budget briefcase was a copy of the 'Gladstone box' that is used in the British budget. The word 'Budget' originated from the french word Bougette, which means leather briefcase. The Bahi Khata, meanwhile, made a return for the Budget 2020 as well.