What is Union Budget of India: History Traditions and Facts

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What is Union Budget of India – The Union Budget will be presented on February 1 by Finance Minister, Nirmala Sitharaman in the parliament. After the independence, 73 annual budgets, 14 interim budgets, and 4 special budgets have been presented in the parliament.

History of Union Budget

The first union budget was presented on 26th November 1947 by R.K. Shanmukham Chetty for independent India. The following figures explain the country’s fiscal standing at that time:

Total Revenue – Rs. 171.15 crore

Total Expenditure – Rs. 197.29 crore

Fiscal Deficit – Rs. 24.59 crore

The budget era of India can be divided into two parts: Pre-liberalization and Post-liberalization.what is union budget of india

What is Union Budget of India

Morarji Desai presented the maximum number of budgets in Indian history. During his first term as the finance minister (1958-1963), he presented five annual and one interim budget. He presented three annual and one interim budget during his second tenure (1967-1969). He holds the record of presenting the maximum number of budgets in Indian history.

In 1969, Indira Gandhi became India’s first woman finance minister.

Pranab Mukherjee became the first Rajya Sabha member to hold the post of finance minister. He presented three annual budgets from 1982-1985.

Must Read:Interesting facts about Nirmala Sitharaman

Rajiv Gandhi presented the budget for 1987-1988.

In 1991, due to political uprising and early elections, Dr. Manmohan Singh presented the interim budget for 1991-1992.

During the budget of 1992-1993 presented by Dr. Manmohan Singh, India’s economy witnessed liberalization. India’s doors were open to the world and various policy changes were made.

What is Union Budget of India

The budget of 1997-98 was presented in a special parliamentary session due to a constitutional crisis. The budget was presented by P. Chidambaram.

An interim budget for 1998-1999 and the next four annual budgets were presented by Finance Minister Yashwant Sinha.

An interim budget was presented by Jaswant Singh in 2004 due to the elections that year.

Pranab Mukherjee presented his 7th budget for the year 2012-13.

Arun Jaitley presented the union budget for the years 2014-2019.

The annual budget for 2019-2021 has been presented by Nirmala Sitharaman.

She will be presenting the annual budget for 2022-2023.

What is Union Budget of India – Traditions of Union Budget

Time of Budget Presentation

Until 1999, the Union Budget was presented at 5.00 p.m. every year. The tradition was started by the Britishers who used to announce as per 11.30 a.m. British time. However, Yashwant Sinha broke this tradition in 1999 by presenting the budget at 11.00 a.m.

Date of Budget Presentation

Another tradition started by colonials was the date of the budget. They used to announce the budget on the last day of February. However, in 2017, under the government of Narendra Modi, Arun Jaitley announced the budget on February 1.

Halwa Ceremony

A week prior to the presentation of the union budget, a halwa ceremony is performed. It embarks the onset of the printing process of the annual budget. As per the ceremony, halwa is prepared in the Finance Department and the finance minister distributes it to the staff and employees. It is based on the Indian belief of having something sweet before starting an auspicious work.

Must Read:Objectives of Union Budget of India

What is Union Budget of India

Budget Briefcase

The first finance minister of India, R.K. Shanmukham Chetty started the tradition of carrying the budget in a briefcase on the day of the budget presentation.


In 2019, finance minister Nirmala Sitharaman carried the budget in bahi-khata, breaking the tradition of the briefcase.

Digital Budget

Due to the COVID pandemic, in 2021, Nirmala Sitharaman presented the first digital budget of India.

Railway Budget

Until 2016, there were two budgets: General budget and railways budgets. However, under the Modi government, this tradition was broken and a single union budget was presented in 2017.

What is Union Budget of India

Interesting facts about Union Budget of India – Facts about Union Budget

  • India’s first budget was presented by Scottish economist, James Wilson on April 7, 1860.
  • The first budget of independent India was presented on November 26, 1947, by the finance minister, R.K. Shanmukham Chetty.
  • The maximum number of budgets have been presented by former Prime Minister Morarji Desai, which is 10.
  • P. Chidambaram has presented the 2nd maximum number of budgets, which is 9.
  • Until 1955, the budget was presented in English. However, it was later changed to both Hindi and English.
  • Indira Gandhi was the first woman to present the union budget in the Indian parliament.
  • Nirmala Sitharaman is the 2nd woman to present the union budget in India.
  • In 1980, a government press was set up in the North Block of the parliament for printing the budget.
  • Dr. Manmohan Singh has presented the speech with a maximum word count of 18,650 words in 1991.
  • The shortest budget speech was of 800 words presented by H.M. Patel in 1977.
  • The longest budget speech has been delivered by Nirmala Sitharaman in 2020.
  • In 2021, the first paperless budget was presented amid the COVID pandemic.

Must Read:What is union budget and how it is prepared?

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