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Union Budget 2019: British legacy of budget briefcase dumped, Nirmala Sitharaman arrives with ‘Bahi khata’

CEA Krishnamurthy Subramanian stated that the FM carrying the documents in this manner represents our departure from the slavery of western thought.

The Union Budget is to be presented in the parliament today. Finance minister Nirmala Sitharaman, who is India’s first female full-time Finance Minister, has arrived at the Finance Ministry at North Block with the Budget documents.

Nirmala Sitharaman, however, surprised all when she appeared without the usual leather briefcase that has become so symbolic with Finance Ministers arriving on Budget days. On her hands was not the briefcase but a traditional ‘Bahikhata’, wrapped in red cloth and tied with a gold string. The Indian national emblem shone brightly on it.

Chief Economic Advisor Krishnamurthy Subramanian explained the idea behind it. Speaking to media, Subramanian stated that it is the Indian way to store the ledger and account details in a four-fold red cloth. He stated that the FM carrying the documents in that manner represents our departure from the slavery of western thought. He asserted that in our country, it is not the budget, it is the ‘Bahi Khata’.

As explained by a report in Republic TV, the word Budget has been derived from the French term bougette which means a briefcase. The British tradition of ‘opening the budget’ and presenting the financial plans of the government had originated in the 1860s. Eventually, it trickled over to post-colonial India.

The budget will be presented at 11 am today in parliament.

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