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20 interesting facts about the Budget

Last updated on: March 16, 2012 11:12 IST

20 interesting facts about the Budget

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Finance Minister Pranab Mukherjee became the first finance minister to present the Union Budget on either side of an election and the first to do so after a quarter-century gap, in 2009.

Mukherjee was rated as the best finance minister in the world in 1984 by Euromoney magazine.

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Union Budget 2012-13: Complete coverage

Image: Finance Minister Pranab Mukherjee.


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20 interesting facts about the Budget

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Jawaharlal Nehru, Indira Gandhi and Rajiv Gandhi are the prime ministers who presented a Budget.

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Union Budget 2012-13: Complete coverage

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R K Shanmukham Chetty presented independent India's first budget. R K Shanmukhan Chetty served as the finance minister in Jawaharlal Nehru's Cabinet between 1947-49.

On November 26, 1947 Chetty presented the first Budget of independent India. Actually, it was a review of the economy and no new taxes were proposed as the Budget day for 1948-49 was just 95 days away.

Chetty resigned in 1949 due to differences with the then prime minister Pandit Jawarharlal Nehru.

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Image: R K Shanmukham Shetty (inset).


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20 interesting facts about the Budget

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India has had 28 finance ministers since Independence. The word Budget was derived from the French word, bougette, which in turn is a diminutive of bouge, meaning a leather bag.

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Image: Indian Rupee notes.
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The Budget is discussed in two stages in Lok Sabha. First, there is the general discussion on the Budget as a whole. This lasts for about four to five days.

Only the broad outlines of the Budget and the principles and policies underlying it are discussed at this stage. The 'Annual Financial Statement' is laid on the table of Rajya Sabha at the conclusion of the speech of the finance minister in Lok Sabha.

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Photographs: Reuters.

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The highly confidential Budget papers are printed at finance ministry's own printing press. The press at the basement of the building, becomes a forbidden area and about 30 employees of the press stay in the ministry for the last seven days to ensure foolproof secrecy.

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Image: Indian Parliament.
Photographs: Reuters.
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The finance minister is required to submit the Budget to the Parliament usually on the last working day of February so that the Lok Sabha has one month to review and modify the Budget proposals.

The Budget proposed by the finance minister comes into effect after parliamentary discussion on the Budget has been completed by April 1.

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Indira Gandhi has been India's only woman finance minister for a year from 1970 to 1971.

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Morarji Desai was the longest serving finance minister. Desai was FM for five years under Nehru and three years under Indira Gandhi.

Morarji Desai presented two Budgets on his birthday, February 29, in 1964 and 1968.

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C D Deshmukh was the first Indian Governor of the Reserve bank of India to have presented the Interim Budget for 1951-52.

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Jawaharlal Nehru was the first Indian prime minister to present the Budget when he was in charge of the finance ministry in 1958-59.

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Many Indian finance ministers later became prime ministers. Morarji Desai, was twice the finance minister of India -- 1959-64 and 1967-70. He served as the prime minister from 1977 to 1979. Chaudhary Charan Singh became the prime minister in late 1979, having held the finance portfolio earlier the same year.

V P Singh was finance minister from 1985 to 1987 and prime minister from 1989 to 1990.

India's first prime minister (1947-64) Pt. Jawaharlal Nehru had also held the finance portfolio from 1958 to 1959.

Indira Gandhi and Manmohan Singh too held the finance portfolio.

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Two finance ministers, Yashwant Sinha and Manmohan Singh have presented 5 budgets in a row.

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R Venkataraman was India's finance minister from 1980-82. He later served as President of India from 1987-1992.

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Yashwant Sinha has the distinction for maximum rollbacks in the Union Budget that presented in 2002, he went back on at least five budget proposals.

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Rajiv Gandhi presented the budget for 1987-88 after V P Singh quit his government.

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Manmohan Singh, in his annual budgets from 1992-93, liberalised the economy, encouraged foreign investments and reduced peak import duty from 300 plus per cent to 50 per cent.

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Until 2000, the Union Budget was announced at 5 pm on the last working day of the month of February.

This practice was inherited from the British, when their Parliament would pass the budget in the noon followed by India in the evening of the day. Yashwant Sinha changed the timing to 11 a.m.

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The Union Budget of India for the year 1997-98, presented on February 28, 1997 by the Finance Minister P Chidambaram, was hailed as a 'Dream Budget'.

The budget unveiled a road map for economic reforms in India. Chidambaram lowered income tax rates, got rid of the surcharge on corporate tax and reduced corporate tax rates.

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Budget papers began to be prepared in Hindi from 1955-56. Union Budget 2012-13: Complete coverage

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