Budget FAQs: Who presented the first Mini Budget?

Budget FAQs: Who presented the first Mini Budget?

The record is held by India’s fourth Finance Minister, TT Krishnamachari, during Prime Minister Jawaharlal Nehru’s regime in 1965. Credit: Wikimedia Commons

After ushering in its second term in 2019, the Narendra Modi government, through its Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman, presented a budget on July 5, 2019, just a few months after coming back to power in May. The interim budget of the outgoing Modi 1.0 government was presented earlier in the year on Feb 1, 2019 by Union Minister Piyush Goyal in the absence of late Finance Minister Arun Jaitley.

One of the major highlights of Sitharaman’s maiden budget, which was referred to as a ‘mini’ budget, was the slashing of the corporate tax rate to around 25%.

Generally, a budget is referred to as ‘mini’ when it is a special-occasion budgetary proposal.  A budget is also called ‘mini’ when an interim budget has already been presented by the outgoing government in an election year and the new one is presented in the same year by the new government. The next full budget follows less than a year into the new government’s regime.  In the case of Sitharaman’s first budget, most of the pointers of Modi 1.0’s interim budget were retained and a few new announcements were made.

However, Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman’s budget wasn’t the first mini budget in the history of Indian Union Budgets.

That record is held by India’s fourth Finance Minister, TT Krishnamachari, during Prime Minister Jawaharlal Nehru’s regime in 1965.

Krishnamachari, who took over the reins from Finance Minister CD Deshmukh, presented the first ‘mini budget’ on November 30, 1956 to tackle the turbulent economic conditions of the 1956 India. Through Finance Bills, and in his 5,000-word long speech, he announced new taxation proposals in a special-occasion budgetary proposal aimed at dealing with an economy plagued with rising inflation and dipping forex reserves. 

Krishnamachari, however, had to resign in February, 1958 after the one-man Justice Chagla Commission found him guilty of corruption.

Nehru had to step in after his resignation to take over the Finance portfolio and in the absence of a finance minister; Prime Minister Nehru went on to present the Budget of 1958-59.

Krishnamachari was back at the Finance Minister seat less than a decade later and the second mid-year taxation proposal or mini budget was also presented by him in August 1965. In his tenure, Krishnamachari presented a total of six budgets, two of them being mini budgets.