Interim Budget 2019: interesting facts on the Indian Budget and how it changed over the years

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Interim Budget

As per the dictionary, ‘interim’ means meanwhile. When it’s an outgoing government or the case where the government doesn’t have time to present the full budget because the elections are approaching, it presents a proposed budget which later can be approved finally by the incoming government.

An Interim Budget is not the same as a ‘Vote on Account’. While a ‘Vote on Account’ deals only with the expenditure side of the government’s budget, an Interim Budget is a complete set of accounts, including both expenditure and receipts.

Interesting facts on the Indian Budget

  • India has had 25 finance ministers since Independence. The word ‘budget’ has been derived from ‘bougette’ which refers to a leather bag in French.
  • Budget was introduced for the first time in India on April 7, 1860, by the East India Company to the British Crown. A company which now has an India owner, Sanjiv Mehta, a Mumbai-born entrepreneur who successfully claimed it in 2005.
  • Morarji Desai, the former Finance Minister of India, has presented the budget a record 10 times. This is the most by any finance minister in the history of India. Chidambaram is second in place to present eight budgets.
  • In 2001, NDA Finance Minister Yashwant Sinha changed the time of budget presentation from 5 pm to 11 am. Since then, this tradition has been continued further.
  • The practice of the budget presentation at 5 pm was started by Basil Blackett in 1924 to provide relief to officials who had worked all night.
  • Indira Gandhi was the first woman Finance Minister to present the budget on February 28, 1970.
  • On April 7, 1860, the then-Finance Minister of India James Wilson, under the British rule, presented the first budget of India.
  • The first Union Budget of Independent India was presented by RK Sanmukham Chetty, the then Finance Minister of India on November 26, 1947. The first budget of the Republic of India was presented by John Mathai.
  • The first budget of independent India was only for seven and a half months and that was the time when the ‘Interim Budget,’ that meant budget for short period, came into being.
  • Rajiv Gandhi, Indira Gandhi and Jawaharlal Nehru are the only three Prime Ministers’ belonging to the same family to have presented the budget. This unique achievement of the Gandhi family was completed in 1987-89 after VP Singh quit his government and Rajiv Gandhi presented the budget.
  • The longest budget speech was delivered by former PM Dr Manmohan Singh, comprising 18,650 words, during his tenure as Finance Minister in 1991.
  • The shortest budget speech comprising 800 words was given by HM Patel in 1977 while delivering the Interim Budget.
  • Manmohan Singh as Finance minister introduced the concept of Service Tax, VP Singh introduced the Modified Value Added Tax (MODVAT) and Rajiv Gandhi Introduced the Minimum Alternate Tax (MAT).
  • In 2017, the Rail Budget, which was presented separately for 92 years, got merged with Union Budget.
  • Morarji Desai presented the budget on his birthday on February 29, 1964.

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