In a bizarre comment to Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman's red folio carrying the Union Budget, former Finance Minister P Chidambaram has said that Congress' future finance minister will bring an iPad, instead of the budget briefcase.
Meanwhile, Congress spokesperson Randeep Singh Surjewala lashed out at the newly announced Union Budget, poking holes in Sitharaman's speech claiming that the fiscal deficit figures shared by the Finance Minister were false, questioning its validity and basis.
He also took a shot at the GDP projections revealed in the budget, comparing it with the figures shared in the Economic survey and actual GDP of last quarter.
Casting aside the 'Budget briefcase' tradition, FM Nirmala Sitharaman, before presenting her maiden budget, posed for photos with a red 'folio' carrying the budget documents.
The reason behind this change was revealed by CEA Krishnamurthy Subramanian saying that the Union Finance Minister believes that leather made products are not auspicious for the big occasion, hence, she avoided the leather bag, and instead used the red bhaikhatta (ledger). It is the traditional bhaikhatta (ledger). It is a good omen and that we should appreciate our culture. He added that it symbolises a departure of slavery from our western thought.
In 1860, the then British budget chief William Ewart Gladstone, known for his long speeches, used a red suitcase with Queen's monogram embossed in gold to carry his bundle of papers. As he was asked to 'open the budget' while presenting his statement, the tradition of the 'budget' started.
This British tradition trickled to its then colony India too. Even after Independence in the first ever budget presented by the then Finance Minister RK Shanmukham Chetty on 26 November 1947, the budget briefcase was carried by Chetty. Similarly, in 1958, Jawaharlal Nehru who presented that year's budget carried a black briefcase, which was repeated by former prime minister Manmohan Singh in 1991. Singh's finance minister - Pranab Mukherjee carried a red briefcase, which was the preferred choice of this year's interim budget presenter - Piyush Goyal on February 1.
Exactly at 11 AM, FM Nirmala Sitharaman rose to present the Budget for 2019-2020. The tempo right from the start was charged with the recalling of the promises of Modi Government before this election- the promise of delivering on a “New India” and with that-- the slogan of Budget 2019 was set. Within 5 minutes the speech, Finance Minister Sitharaman stated about Prime Minister Modi's vision of 5 trillion dollar economy.