Finance minister Nirmala Sitharaman is once again back with the 'bahi-khata' (ledger) to present her second Budget. According to Sitharaman, 'bahi-khata' is known to be auspicious.
New Delhi: For her second budget presentation, Union finance minister Nirmala Sitharaman carried documents in a traditional 'bahi-khata' (ledger) wrapped in a red cloth, similar to what she carried in the year 2019.
Dressed in crisp yellow silk saree, accompanied by MoS finance Anurag Thakur and other officials from her ministry, Sitharam met President Ram Nath Kovind before presenting the Union Budget at 11 am today.
The duration of the Union Budget 2020 speech usually ranges from 90 to 120 minutes.
In 2019, Sitharaman had ditched the long-standing tradition of carrying budget documents in a leather briefcase and went swadeshi with a 'bahi-khata'.
Commenting on the shift from a briefcase to 'bahi-khata' during the 89th Union Budget, chief economic advisor, Krishnamurthy Subramanian had told ANI in July last year, "The government is following Indian tradition and 'bahi-khata' symbolises our departure from the slavery of Western thought."
On being asked about the replacement of the briefcase, Subramanian said, "It is not a Budget, but a bahi-khata (ledger)."
"Sitharaman believes that leather made products are not auspicious for the big occasion, so she avoided the leather bag and took the ' wrapped in red cloth. 'bahi-khata' is considered to be auspicious," he had said.
In July 2019, Sitharaman had said that Prime Minister Narendra Modi's government is not a "suitcase-carrying government", in an apparent jibe at the past dispensations.
Before Sitharaman, a long-standing tradition in connection with the Budget presentation was broken during the Atal Bihari Vajpayee government with the then finance minister Yashwant Sinha presenting the Budget at 11 am rather than at the traditional time of 5 pm.
Since then, all governments have been presenting the Budget at 11 am.
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Last Updated 1, Feb 2020, 9:58 AM