Bengaluru: Finance minister Nirmala Sitharaman will present her first Union budget on July 5. In the days leading up to the presentation, we give you few interesting facts on the Union budget.

  • Signalling the start of the process of budget preparation, a halwa ritual is held. This year, it was held on June 22. As part of the ceremony, halwa is prepared in a big vessel and served to the entire staff of the ministry.
  •  As strange as it sounds, officials who are tasked with preparations and the printing of the Union budget hole themselves up into the basement of the North Block. These officials are locked up in the basement and remain incommunicado for about 10 days and emerge only after the finance minister presents the budget completely. Such is the secrecy maintained that these officials are not allowed to use their mobile phones or talk to their families. There is a landline present at the basement, but it has no facility to make outgoing calls. An intelligence officers oversees their stay in the basement.
  • Generally, the Union budget used to be presented at 5 pm, but now, it is presented at 11 am. The credit for this should got to Yashwanth Sinha who changed it when he was the finance minister in the year 2001.
  • Nirmala Sitharaman becomes only the second finance minister to present a Union budget. Indira Gandhi presented her first budget on February 28, 1970.
  • Ever wondered how the word ‘budget’ came into existence? Well, the word has been derived from the word ‘bougette’ which, in French, refers to a leather bag.

  • The first budget for India in the pre-Independence era was presented by the then finance minister James Wilson on April 7, 1860.
  • In independent India, it was finance minister RK Sanmukham Chetty, who presented the first budget on November 26, 1947.
  • In 2017, the Railway budget was amalgamated with the Union budget and there has been no separate Railway budget ever since.
  • You have heard of different taxes, but do you know who introduced them? Service tax was introduced by Manmohan Singh, Modified Value Added Tax (MODVAT) was introduced by VP Singh and Rajiv Gandhi Introduced the Minimum Alternate Tax (MAT).