Budget 2020: Here's why Budget date, time was changed

Budget 2020: Here's why Budget date, time was changed

Parliament of India. (PTI Photo)

Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman will present Union Budget 2020 of the Narendra Modi-led government on Feb. 1. She was given the crucial Finance Ministry portfolio after the Narendra Modi-led NDA government gained a landslide victory in 2019 Lok Sabha elections and came to power for the second consecutive term. 

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Nirmala Sitharaman, who is only the second woman to present the Budget after former Prime Minister Indira Gandhi, has a big task at hand. She needs to address issues such as the economic slowdown, an auto sector crisis, a severe agrarian crisis and Non-Performing Assets marring the banking sector.

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While all eyes will be on Budget 2020, here's key trivia associated with the annual exercise.

Why were the Budget's date and time changed?

Earlier, the Union Budget used to be announced at 5 pm on the last working day of February, and the practice was in vogue till 1999. The tradition was inherited from the colonial era but it was not the only reason. More often than not, the Budget invariably brings changes in the tax system, and a presentation in the evening used to give producers and the tax collecting agencies the night to work out the change in prices. 

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Yashwant Sinha, who was India's Finance Minister from 1998 to 2002 during the Atal Bihari Vajpayee-led NDA government, changed the ritual by announcing the 1999 Union Budget at 11 am.

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Another change took place in 2017 during the NDA government, this time led by Prime Minister Modi. Departing from the colonial-era tradition of presenting the Union Budget on the last working day of February, then Finance Minister Arun Jaitley announced that it would henceforth be presented on Feb 1. 

The entire nation is eagerly waiting for Budget 2020, and it remains to be seen whether it ushers in a new era for the Indian economy.