In a few days, the Indian Finance Minister, Nirmala Sitharaman is going to address the nation with the Union Budget for 2023-24. It’s a time that is highly anticipated by every single citizen of the country, not to mention the world!
But before we start dissecting and analysing the unit elements of the budget, we thought let’s have some fun. Here are 15 interesting factoids about the budget.
1. The 2021-22 budget edition was the first paperless budget presented during the Covid-19 pandemic. The government also presented the Union Budget mobile app. So that people could access it on their smartphones. Check it out here.
2. RK Shanmukham Chetty presented the first budget of Independent India on November 26, 1947. However, the budget itself has a 160-year-old legacy. It was presented first in 1860 by the Scottish economist James Wilson.
3. There have since been 73 annual budgets, 14 interim budgets, and 4 special budgets.
4. Nirmala Sitharaman is only the second woman in Independent India’s history to have presented the budget after Indira Gandhi.
5. The North Block at the Rashtrapati Bhavan is the seat of the finance ministry – which is where the budget is also traditionally printed using a government press. (Unused last year)
6. Black budget of 1973-74: Presented when India was going through acute financial distress. The fiscal gap that year was ₹550 crores.
7. Carrot & Stick budget: The first step taken in 1986 was to remove the ‘licence raj’ in India.
8. Epochal Budget: The Manmohan Singh budget of 1991 that ended the Licence raj and began liberalisation in India
9. Millenium Budget: A watershed moment for India’s IT industry, this budget presented a roadmap of growth in 2000.
10. Once-in-a-century Budget: Presented by Nirmala Sitharaman in 2021, that looked at reviving India and investing in infrastructure and healthcare by relying on an aggressive privatisation strategy.
Duration of union budgets
11. Nirmala Sitharaman had the longest speech when she spoke for 2 hours and 42 minutes for the 2021-2021 budget.
12. The shortest speech had only 800 words delivered by Hirubhai Mulljibhai Patel delivered in 1977
13. Morarji Desai presented the most number of budgets between 1962-69.
14. Traditionally the starting point of the union budget is a blue sheet of paper that has key numbers on it. Also considered the blueprint of the budget, this is top secret and is always in the sole custody of the joint secretary of the budget.
15. The word ‘Budget’ has been derived from the French word ‘Bougette’ which means a small bag