On February, 1st 2018 Thursday, Finance minister Arun Jaitley will present Union Budget 2018, the National Democratic Alliance’s (NDA’s) fifth budget. Some say that this must be the toughest budget this Government has to propose.
While there are many budget rumours already flooding about Income Tax Rates, Demonetization, Goods and Services Tax (GST) and other schemes, we look forward to have some good schemes announced by the Finance Minister Arun Jaitley on this Union Budget 2018.
The Budget 2018 is getting even more attention considering the upcoming assembly elections in eight states—including three major states ruled by the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP).
Let’s take a look at some interesting facts about announcing Union Budgets in India.
- Halwa Ceremony – The printing of budget documents starts roughly a week ahead of presenting in the Parliament with a customary ‘Halwa ceremony’ in which halwa (a sweet dish) is prepared in large quantities and served to the officers and support staff involved. They remain isolated and stay in the North Block office until the Budget is presented. Halwa is also served by the FM. This ceremony is performed as a part of the Indian tradition of having something sweet before starting an important work.
- The first budget in India was introduced on April 7, 1860 by the British East-India Company and was presented by James Wilson a finance member of the Indian Council.
- Independent India’s first Budget was presented on November 26, 1947 by Finance Minister RK Shanmukham Chetty on, for a period of seven and a half months from August 15, 1947 to March 31, 1948
- John Mathai is the third Finance Minister of India presented the first budget for the Republic of India budget for 1950-51
- Jawaharlal Nehru was the first PM to present the Budget when he was also the Union Finance Minister. Only Jawaharlal Nehru, Indira Gandhi and Rajiv Gandhi have presented the Budget while serving as the Prime minister.
- Morarji Desai, the former Prime Minister and Finance Minister has presented a record number of ten budgets.
- The scrapping of the 92-year old practice of presenting a separate Railway Budget and merged it with the Union Budget. The government is expected to present the budget on February 1 2018.
- Until the year 1999, the Union Budget was announced at 5 pm on the last working day of February. Former finance minister in the NDA government Yashwant Sinha, however, changed the ritual by announcing the 1999 Union Budget at 11 am.
- Only two Finance Ministers did not present the Union Budget. KC Neogy and HN Bahuguna have been the only two Finance Ministers who did not present India’s Budget.
- Briefcase ceremony – The tradition of carrying a Budget briefcase can be traced back to the British, who carried a ‘Budget box’ on every Budget Day since 1860. The practice reportedly started when Britain’s budget chief was asked to ‘open the budget’ while presenting the statement