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Union Budget - My story and history

Anjani Kumar Sharma 
on 25 February 2015

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February is a month of love and proposals. This statement holds true even for Chartered Accountants. Although, the proposal which invokes excitement in Chartered Accountants are the Tax proposals presented by the Finance Minister in the Union Budget presented on the last working day of the month of February.  I grew up in a family of Chartered Accountants where listening to Union Budget was no less then a celebrated annual ritual.

Usually on the last day of February the kids in the house were quarantined to one room and we would watch the elders (my father, uncles etc.) glued to the Television sets with the notebooks and pen in their hand. What followed was a session of utmost concentration where notes were taken, with rigorous nodding of the head, at times letting out a gasp of anguish, the thumping the desk either in approval or resentment. For us, the kids in the house it was more of a dumb charades. We never tried to make any heads and tail out of it. The T.V. watching session was followed by simple house hold questions by my mother, wherein she enquired whether the Gas cylinder will get cheaper and similar concerns with regards to clothes, foods etc.

Times have changed. I grew up to become a Chartered Accountant myself but the ritual is still the same. I write this waiting anxiously for what is perhaps touted as the most awaited and anticipated budget since Manmohan Singh’s historical Union Budget. The Union Budget has had a rich, unique and an interesting history of itself. This was my story on the Union Budget and now lets discuss a bit of History as well.

The simple meaning of the word Budget is an estimate of income and expenditure for a set period of time. The word Budget is derived from the French word ‘bougette’ which means a leather bag. This word was used by the British Chancellor to carry his papers, which he presented to the British Parliament. But, it was only in the year 1873 that the word was used particularly to describe an annual financial statement.

The Budget was first introduced in India on the 7th of April, 1860. The East India Company gave this to the British Crown. James Wilson presented the first budget in India on 18thFebruary, 1869. He was the finance member of the Indian council that provided advisory to the Indian Viceroy. James Wilson a businessman and economist was also the founder of The Economist and Standard Chartered Bank.

The Union Budget has a unique and an interesting history attached to it. The First Union Budget of independent India was presented by Sir R.K. ShanmukhamChetty, the First finance minister of India on 26th  November, 1947. He was an Indian lawyer, economist, erstwhile Diwan of Cochin state and a Constitutional Adviser to the Chamber of Princes. The First budget was presented without any Tax Proposals in the backdrop of riots and partition. Sir Chetty presented an analysis of the economic situation of in India post independence. This was an interim budget as the next budget was presented 95 days after this budget.

Mr. John Mathai delivered the first budget of Republic of India. It was the first budget of United India and included the financial statement of the Princely States. This budget is considered to be the most lucid budget speech ever presented. It was in this budget where Mr. Mathai circulated a White paper in the Budget proposals to all the members. This budget is also considered important as it contained the proposal on the Planning Commission and the five year plans. In the years that followed the Union Budget has been presented by eminent economist and leaders like C.D. Deshmukh, T.T. Krishnamachari, Moraraji Desai, Manmohan Singh, P Chidambram and many more. The country now waits for one of the ‘Transformational Budget’ one of the most anticipated budget of all times to be presented by the Honble Finance Minister ShriArunJaitely on the 28th of February.

Watch this space for more trivia and interesting facts !


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