The Budget in India is one of the most important event in the year and many people in millions watch the Budget live on TV especially broadcasted on the ‘Doordarshan’ and other private News Channels via the feed from ‘Doordarshan’.
1st Feb of every year is a date which almost everyone in India knows as the date when the Budget is read by the serving Finance Minister of India.
While it may sound just few numbers but making a budget is daunting task that starts in the 3rd quarter of the financial year-April to March is financial year in India unlike many countries which follow January to December.
The budget involves 4 stages which are Estimates of Expenditure & Revenues, First Estimate of Deficit, Narrowing of Deficit and Presentation & Approval
As the Financial year starts from 1st April, the changes proposed in the budget are applied from 1st April of the year. It is clear that the time when the budget is read to the time it is imposed there are 2 months in between for any disputes to settle.
Budget presentation has been in existence since 1860 as the first budget was presented by James Wilson when India was under the control of the British Empire & RK Shanmukhan Chetty had the privilege to present the Budget of Independent India in 1947.
5 Prime Ministers of India have presented the Budget in till date as they were holding the portfolio of Finance Minister as well. There were Jawaharlal Nehru, Indira Gandhi, Morarji Desai, Rajiv Gandhi and Manmohan Singh.
Jawaharlal Nehru became the first PM to read the Budget. PM Jawaharlal presented the budget for 1958-59.
Morarji Desai as Finance Minister presented the budget for a record 10 times. He held the portfolio of Finance Minister from 1959 till 1964 and then from 1968 to 1970. Morarji Desai was the PM from 1977 to 1979 and he did not present the budget while holding the post of PM. All the Budgets he presented as Prime Minister were under the leadership of PM Jawaharlal Nehru.
Indira Gandhi presented the Union Budget as Finance Minister in 1970. She became the first PM and first Woman Finance Minster to Present the Budget.
Rajiv Gandhi presented the Budget of 1987 when he was also the Prime Minister of India.
Manmohan Singh tabled the Budget from 1991 to 1996 as Finance Minister under the leadership of P.V.Narsimha Rao as the Prime Minister of India. He is known as one the best Finance Ministers that the country had. He is famous for introducing Service Tax & range of Trade Policies that changed the country for good.
Morarji Desai presented 10 budgets & P.Chidambaram presented a total of 9 budgets followed by Yashwant Sinha & PRanab Mukherjee who presented a total of 8 budgets & Manmohan Singh who presented 6 budgets.
The Change Makers:
Arun Jaitely has been the front of making changes in the way budget has been presented. He changed the tradition of Presenting the budget on the last working day of February to 1st February of every year in 2016 and was the first to merge the Railway Budget along with the Union Budget in 2017
Yashwant Sinha changed the timing of presenting the Budget at 11am from the earlier 5pm in 2001 budget.
Current Finance Minster of India Shrimati Niramala Sitahraman presented her first budget in 2019 carrying a Red Packet with a National Emblem instead of the Traditional Briefcase that all the Finance Ministers had flaunted till 2018.
Congress led government decided to print the budget in both English as well as Hindi in 1955. Till 1955 the budget was made and presented only in English Language.
The Budget is printed in the Government Press set up inside the North Block from 1980. Till 1980 it was printed at the Rashtrpati Bhavan. It was leaked in 1950 so the decision was taken to move the Press in North Block.
The Budget of 2021 became the first paperless Budget presented by the Finance Minister Shrimati Nirmala Sitaharaman. She read the budget using her Tablet. It was for the first time in history of Indian Budget that a Union Budget Mobile App was launched for public to access the Budget Documents. It gives access to 14 Union Budget Documents.
The Black Budget of 1973-74 presented by the Finance Minister Yashwantrao Chavan with a fiscal deficit of Rs.550 crores which was the highest ever till that year is one of the most popular budgets.
The Epochal Budget of 1991 presented by the Finance Minister Manmohan Singh is known for its historical significance. It was the budget that brought Economic Liberalisation in India and changed the way Private Companies operated in the Country.
The Dream Budget of 1997-98 presented by the Finance Minister P Chidambaram became the most loved one because of the tax cuts on Corporate Taxes and Personal Income Taxes.
The Budget of 2021:
The Budget of 2021 came as a relief to many considering the Government did not impose Covid or Corona Cess on people considering the loss to the Public Office Tax Collections.
Also, the Government introduced a new kind of Income Tax payment options like the Senior Citizens above the age of 75 need not file the Income Tax Returns. And new slabs have been introduced that will end up saving some money on the income tax. Also, new labs have been introduced for senior and super senior citizens to increase their savings. The new Tax regime is more beneficial for the people with less investment exposure.
So what we realised with the article and facts related to Budget is why people follow the Budget every year. It defines the path for the entire year in terms of Savings and Investment for individuals and Organisations.
Hopefully, with the advancement in technology, we will see new ways and means of making, presenting and access to budget in the coming year and years after that.
To see the budget speech of 2021, please click on the link below: