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Briefcase to ‘Bahi Khata’: FM Ends British Tradition on Budget Day

The painstaking secrecy of the Budget is a British legacy, so is the Budget briefcase that the finance minister carries on the day it is tabled.

But in a departure from what was the tradition so far, Union Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman arrived with a red cloth folder (bahi katha or a ledger notebook) instead of the briefcase, to present the Budget on Friday, 5 July.

Catch all the live updates from the Union Budget presentation here.

Interestingly, the word 'budget' originated from the French word ‘Bougette’, which means a leather briefcase.

Traditionally, India’s budget briefcase is a copy of the ‘Gladstone Box’ which is used by the British government. However, while the British finance ministers pass on the briefcase to their successors, their Indian counterparts carry their own.

Also Read: Strictly Confidential! How Finance Ministry Keeps Budget a Secret

‘What Happened to The Briefcase,’ Asks Twitter

Surprised with the departure from the British legacy, Tweeple questioned why the briefcase was missing in action.

‘Why Follow the Trend When You Can Set One’

Blast From The Past

Here are photos of former finance ministers holding the briefcase, ahead of the budget presentation.

First Finance Minister Shanmukham Chetty With His Briefcase.
Pranab Mukherjee.
P Chidambaram.
Finance Minister Arun Jaitley during Modi Govt 1.0.
Interim Finance Minister Piyush Goyal during Modi Govt 1.0.

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