Here's why Budget 2019 was unique

Here's why Budget 2019 was unique

Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman arrives to present the 2019 budget in Parliament, New Delhi, India July 5, 2019. (Reuters Photo)

Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman is gearing up to present her second budget on February 1, 2020. Sitharaman is the second woman in independent India to present a budget. 

This is the second full-time budget of the Modi government after the 2019 Lok Sabha elections, where the NDA won with a majority. The budget comes at a time when the Indian economy is under stress and the Finance Ministry is expected to cut personal tax to strengthen the economy. 

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Every year, Union Budgets are presented as per the tradition -- the printing of the document kickstarts with halwa ceremony, the officials related to the budget document then stay at the Finance Ministry till the budget is presented and so on. 

Last year's Union Budget, however, was unique. While, on one hand, it broke away from some of the traditions, on the other hand, it made new history. In 2019, Sitharaman ditched the British tradition of carrying a briefcase and adopted the Indian tradition by carrying a 'bahi khata' (ledger). The budget documents were kept in a four-fold red cloth with the national emblem on it, wrapped with a ribbon. It symbolised India's departure from the slavery of Western thought. 

Budget 2020: Meet two women who presented Budget in India

The Budget 2019 was the first budget in independent India that was presented by a full-time woman finance minister. In 2019, Sitharaman became the second woman ever to present the Union Budget. While Indira Gandhi was the first woman to have presented the Union Budget in the parliament, she was not a full-time finance minister. In 1970, Gandhi presented the Union Budget of India for 1970-71 after she took over the Finance portfolio following the resignation of Morarji Desai as Finance Minister. 

Gandhi held the portfolio for a year before appointing her Home Minister, Yashwantrao Chavan, as the Finance Minister.