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As Finance Minister Arun Jaitley presents the interim budget on 1 February for the financial year 2019-20, the last before the country goes to Assembly polls in May, here are 10 interesting facts about the budgets presented in independent India.
- The first-ever budget presented for the Union of India on 26 November 1947 was an interim budget. Presented by the first finance minister RK Shanukham Chetty, it was only a review of the economy and no new tax changes were proposed as the day of budget presentation for the next financial year was less than a 100 days away. From then on, interim budget came on to be known as one for a short period.
- Indira Gandhi is the only woman to hold the position of a finance minister till date. She took over the finance ministry after Morarji Desai resigned from the government in 1969.
- Morarji Desai holds the record of presenting the most number of financial budgets at 10, followed by P Chidambaram who presented it 9 times and former president Pranab Mukherjee who presented the budget 8 times.
- In line with the Indian tradition to start an important event with something sweet, ten days before the budget is presented, wherein the Ministry is sealed to perform the printing work in full secrecy, a halwa ceremony is performed. The entire finance ministry including those involved with the printing process is served with halwa.
- After the resignation of VP Singh from the government, the then Prime Minister of India, Rajiv Gandhi presented the budget for the financial year 1987-88.
- The 1997-98 budget was also called the dream budget due to major economic reforms like lowering of income and corporate tax rates. It was presented by P. Chidambaram.
- The 1998-99 budget was passed without any debate as there was a constitutional crisis where the then IK Gujral government was on its way to be dissolved. A special session of the parliament was called to pass the budget.
- Finance Minister Yashwant Sinha changed the tradition of announcing the budget at 5 pm on the last working day of February to 11 am in 1999.
- In 2016, the railway budget was clubbed with the general budget for the first time in 92 years.
- In 2017, present finance minister changed the date of budget presentation to 1 February to allow enough time for the budget changes to be implemented by the start of the next financial year, that is 1 April.
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