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Sitharaman discards briefcase, carries 'bahi-khata'

July 05, 2019 11:39 IST

In a departure from the past, India's first full-time woman Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman carried the Union Budget documents in a red bag, reminiscence of the traditional 'bahi-khata'.

IMAGE: Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman arrives to present the 2019 budget in Parliament. Photograph: Adnan Abidi/Reuters

Earlier, finance ministers in different governments used to carry a briefcase to present budget, which was considered as a tradition of colonial past.

 

Sitharaman is presenting the full Budget for 2019-20. She is carrying the Budget documents in a red silk bag with national emblem.

During the Atal Bihari Vajpayee government, the then finance minister Yashwant Sinha broke the one colonial tradition of budget presentation at 5 pm.

IMAGE: In a departure with tradition, the Budget documents were carried in a red silk bag with national emblem. Photograph: Adnan Abidi/Reuters

Since then all governments have been presenting the budget at 11 am.

Bahi-Khata is referred to books of account maintained by traditional Indian businessmen.

IMAGE: In February 2019, the then interim Finance Minister presented the Budget. He kept with tradition and carried the documents in a leather suitcase. Photograph: Adnan Abidi/Reuters

Commenting on the shift from a briefcase to bahi-khata, Chief Economic Advisor Krishnamurthy Subramanian said the government is following "Indian tradition".

"It is in Indian tradition. It symbolises our departure from slavery of Western thought. It is not a Budget, but a Bahi-Khata (ledger)."

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