Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman on Monday presented the Union Budget 2021 in Parliament. This was the first time a paperless budget was presented. Unlike the voluminous printed documents in the past, the Budget was distributed electronically to the Members of Parliament (MPs). The presentation of the Union Budget is a longstanding tradition which started even before the independence of the country. It has undergone several changes and improvements over the years and what started as a Budget briefcase transformed to traditional 'Bahi Khata' last year and this time it was switched with an electronic tablet.
Here are some interesting facts about the Union Budget:
1. The term Budget has been derived from the French word 'Bougette' which translates to 'small bag'.
2. The first Union Budget of India was introduced on April 7, 1860 by the East India Company to the British Crown. It was presented by James Wilson, a Scottish Economist.
3. The Budget did not have the word ‘infrastructure’ until it was introduced in the 1900s.
4. The first Budget of independent India was introduced on November 26, 1947. It was presented by R.K. Shanukham Chetty, India’s first Finance Minister. About 46 per cent of the Budget amounting to Rs 92.74 crore was allocated to defence.
5. The Budget was printed in English language only until 1955. Since 1955-56, it has been printed in English and Hindi both.
6. Former prime minister Indira Gandhi was the first woman in India’s history to present the Budget in FY 1970-71. Nirmala Sitharaman became the first full-time woman Finance Minister to present the Budget in 2019.
7. Former Finance Minister Moraji Desai holds the record for presenting the maximum number of Budgets, having done it on 10 occasions.
8. In 2017, the Rail Budget was merged into the Union Budget for the first time. The changes were introduced by former Finance Minister Arun Jaitley.
9. The record for delivering the longest Budget speech is held by late Arun Jaitely. He gave a 2.5 hours long Budget speech in 2014.