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Business News/ Budget / News/  Budget 2024: Interesting facts about the Budget presentation
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Budget 2024: Interesting facts about the Budget presentation

Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman will be presenting the interim Budget for fiscal year 2024-25 on February 1, 2024. It would be her sixth consecutive budget since 2019. Here are some interesting facts about the Budget presentation in the country

In 2023, Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman presented the first-ever paperless Budget in the country, as she read her speech from a tablet (Ministry of Finance-X)Premium
In 2023, Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman presented the first-ever paperless Budget in the country, as she read her speech from a tablet (Ministry of Finance-X)

Union Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman will be presenting the interim Budget for fiscal year 2024-25 on February 1, 2024. It would be her sixth consecutive budget since 2019. Other Finance Ministers who have presented at least five consecutive Union Budget include Morarji Desai, P Chidambaram, Pranab Mukherjee, Manmohan Singh, Yashwant Sinha, and Arun Jaitley.

Here are some interesting facts about the Budget presentation in the country, ahead of Budget Day: 

First Budget

India contains a 163-year-old legacy of presentation budget in the country. The first budget was introduced in the country by James Wilson, a ScoTTish economist, on April 7, 1860, under the East India Company rule. Post-independence, the first Budget was presented on November 26, 1947 by then Finance Minister R.K. Shanmukham Chetty. There have been 75 annual budgets, 14 interim budgets and four special budgets, presented in the country since Independence.

Longest and Shortest Budget Speech

Nirmala Sitharaman, the current finance minister, set the record for giving the longest speech on February 1, 2020, when she presented the Union Budget for 2020–21. She spoke for two hours and forty-two minutes. During the course of her speech, Sitharaman beat her own record set in July 2019 when she delivered her first budget, speaking for 2 hours and 17 minutes. On the other hand, the shortest budget of India was presented by Hirubhai Mulljibhai Patel in 1977, in which he spoke just 800 words. Patel served as Finance Minister of India from 1977 to 1979 under Morarji Desai-led government.

Most Words in Budget Speech

In 1991, then finance minister Manmohan Singh—under Narasimha Rao government—gave the longest budget speech in terms of words, clocking in at 18,650 words. Arun Jaitley stands second on the list with 18,604 words in his 2018 budget speech. Jaitley took 1 hour and 49 minutes to complete his speech.

Most Number of Budget Presentations

Former prime minister Moraraji Desai holds the record for submitting the most number of Budget proposals till now. During his tenure as finance minister from 1962 to 1969, Desai presented 10 Budgets, followed by P Chidambaram -9, Pranab Mukherjee -8, Yashwant Sinha -8, Manmohan Singh-8, Arun Jaitley-5 and Nirmala Sitharaman-5

Budget Timing 

In 1999, then Finance Minister Yashwant Sinha altered the timing of the Budget presentation to 11 am, contrary to the colonial-era practices of presenting it at 5 pm on the last working day of February. Again in 2017, then Finance Minister Arun Jaitley started the practice of presenting the Budget on February 1 instead of the last working day of the month.

Budget Presentation by Prime Minister 

Generally, the Finance Minister is tasked with presenting the Union Budget every year, but there have been instances when the Budget was presented by the Prime Minister of the country.

Pandit Jawaharlal Lal Nehru was the first Prime Minister to present a union Budget. In 1958, then Finance Minister TT Krishnamachari resigned due to his alleged involvement in the Haridas Mundhra scandal, hence Pandit Nehru was forced to present the Union Budget. Again in 1970, the then Prime Minister Indira Gandhi presented the budget when Finance Minister Morarji Desai resigned protesting against the nationalization of fourteen Indian private banks without consulting him. Similarly, in 1987-88, the then Prime Minister Rajiv Gandhi presented the budget when Finance Minister VP Singh resigned.

Railway Budget

In 2017, then-finance minister Arun Jaitley ended the 92-year-old tradition of having a separate Railway Budget, after the Union Cabinet decided to merge the Railway Budget with the General Budget in 2016. 

Paperless Budget 

In 2023, Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman presented the first-ever paperless Budget in the country, as she read her speech from a tablet. In 2019, she ditched the colonial tradition of carrying the Budget in a briefcase. The Finance minister adopted the traditional ‘bahi khata’ to present the Budget document. The documents were wrapped in a silk red cloth with the national emblem on top.

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Published: 07 Dec 2023, 07:38 AM IST
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