Union budget 2022: As Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman will present the Union budget to parliament on Tuesday (February 1), all eyes are on the screen. From businessmen to the working class, everyone is waiting for emergency measures and expecting them to save the country’s economy that has taken another blow as a result of the third wave of the Covid pandemic. On a lighter note, it also remains to be seen whether she would wear her statement bahi-khata she used for her first budget presentation or the modern tablet she adopted last year to present the first digital “paperless” budget. Also Read – Booster Jab For The Indian Economy? FM Sitharaman all set to present 2022 budget, focus on post-covid expectations
The idiosyncrasies of the budget presentation have always been a topic of discussion. When Sitharaman presented her first budget in 2019, she caught the attention of the nation when Sitharaman broke away from the time-honored “colonial era” traditions of carrying budget documents in a briefcase and opted for traditional bahi khata, a type of ledger wrapped in a red colored cloth. Also Read – India’s economy will be least affected if another COVID wave hits the country, chief economic adviser says
The word ‘budget’ has its origin in the French word Bougette, which means leather briefcase. Traditionally, budget documents – mainly containing documents related to receipts and expenditure and the speech from the Chancellor of the Exchequer – were carried in a brown suitcase, a legacy passed down by the British. Also Read – Seasonal, shock components contribute to tomato and onion price spikes, says economic research
However, traditional Indian businessmen used Bahi-khata to keep their accounts.
Commenting on the shift from a briefcase to bahi-khata during the 89th Union budget, Sitharaman had said later that year that the Modi government is not a “suitcase-carrying government.”
In a veiled attack on Congress, she pledged her idea of carrying budget documents wrapped in a red cloth rather than a briefcase containing alleged corruption in the previous UPA administration at the Center. “For Budget 2019 I didn’t have a suitcase with me. We are not a government carrying suitcases. A suitcase also stands for something else: take a suitcase, give a suitcase. The government of Modi Ji is not a government of suitcases,” she said at the Nagarathar International Business Conference in July 2019.
For its next budget in 2020, Sithraman continued the tradition. Due to the COVID-19 pandemic and the pursuit of a “digital India” by the Union government led by Prime Minister Narendra Modi, Bahi Khata was replaced by a tablet in 2021.
The finance minister was seen holding a tablet in a red-colored sleeve with a gold-colored national emblem printed on it. At the time, media reports claimed it was a “made in India” tablet. Last year, the Union budget was delivered paperless for the first time.
In 2021, the Ministry of Finance also launched the “Union Budget Mobile App” for hassle-free access to budget documents by MPs (MPs) and the general public using the simplest form of digital convenience. The app provides full access to 14 documents of the Union budget, including the annual financial statement (commonly known as budget), the grant demand (DG) and the financial account as mandated by the constitution.