This year will be the first budget presentation after GST (Goods and Services Tax), an important reform in India's taxation that was based on "one country, one tax" mission. Just like GST, there were many historic moments in India's budgeting that left an impact.
With little over a week left for Finance minister Arun Jaitley to present the Annual Union Budget, let us take a look at the five most significant budgets presented in independent India that changed our economy.
1. Feb 28, 1950
Finance Minister: John Matai
It was the first budget of the Republic of India. This was the year the decision to form a Planning Commission for India was made (which was later formed in March 1950). This commission was the institution that formulated India's five-year plans.
In 2014, PM Modi replaced the commission with NITI Aayog.
2. Feb 29, 1968
Finance Minister: Morarji Desai
Morarji Desai is the only Union Minister to have presented 10 budgets. In this particular year, he removed the compulsion of Excise Department officials to check all goods that left the factory gate. A system of self-assessment of goods by all small and big manufacturers was introduced. This helped boost manufacturing and reduced complications in administration in the removal of goods.
In the same year "spousal allowance" was withdrawn. In his budget speech, Morarji Desai said: "It would be improper for any outsider to decide as to who is dependent on whom... to eliminate this unintended strain on the relationship of marriage."
3. Feb 28, 1986
Finance Minister: Vishwanath Pratap Singh
The budget gave a beginning to a major indirect tax reform that led to the shift to GST as we now know it. V.P Singh proposed a major overhaul of the excise taxation structure in the budget of 1986-87.
4. July 24,1991
Finance Minister: Dr. Manmohan Singh
As an expert economist, he proposed a change in the import-export policy to curb that year's balance of payments. There was a slash in import licensing and a vigorous export promotion. It was India's gateway to competition abroad.
India today, is one among the top ten economies of the world.
February 28, 1997
Finance Minister: P. Chidambaram
1997's budget brought a moderation of taxes rates for individuals and businesses. It amplified the tax base of the country. People who were hiding their income to evade taxes started to pay. The tax collections were gone up from Rs 18,700 crore in 1997-98 to Rs 1,00,100 crore by 2010-11.