Union Budget: A Historical Overview

Union Budget: A Historical Overview

  16 Jan 2024

The Union Budget, as per Article 112 of the Indian Constitution, serves as the financial blueprint of the government, outlining estimated revenue and expenditure for the fiscal year spanning April 1 to March 31. This comprehensive financial statement is divided into the revenue budget and capital budget.

Key Changes in the 2017-18 Budget

The 2017-18 Union Budget marked a pivotal moment by shifting the presentation date to the first day of February, integrating the Railway Budget with the Union Budget.

Historical Evolution

India’s inaugural budget was presented on April 7, 1860, during British colonial rule, by Finance Minister James Wilson. Post-independence, the first Union Budget was introduced on November 26, 1947, by Finance Minister Sir R.K. Shanmugham Chetty amid the challenges of partition.

Printing and Secrecy

Budget documents are treated with utmost secrecy to avoid leaks that could have catastrophic effects. The Blue Sheet, containing crucial data, is so confidential that even the Finance Minister cannot retain it. The Halwa Ceremony, marking the start of budget document printing, is a notable tradition.

Lesser-Known Facts

  • The Railway Budget was presented separately for 92 years until its merger with the Union Budget in 2017.
  • Indira Gandhi, the only woman Prime Minister and Finance Minister, presented a budget.
  • The 1997-98 budget was termed the “Dream Budget” for its economic reform roadmap.
  • The 1973-74 budget was dubbed the “Black Budget” due to a significant deficit of Rs550 crore.

Budgets Shaping India’s Future

The 1991-92 Budget under Finance Minister Dr. Manmohan Singh ushered in economic reforms, opening India to foreign investment. The 1997-98 Budget, presented by P. Chidambaram, was pivotal for income tax rate reductions and customs duty easing. The 2000-01 “Millennium Budget” by Yashwant Sinha catalyzed India’s tech transformation.

Important Questions Related to Exams

1. When was India’s first budget presented?

    • A) 1947
    • B) 1860
    • C) 1950
    • D) 1980

2. What marked a significant change in the 2017-18 Union Budget?

    • A) Shifting presentation date
    • B) Integration of Railway Budget
    • C) Both A and B
    • D) None of the above

3. Who presented the Union Budget of 1991-92, leading to economic reforms?

    • A) P. Chidambaram
    • B) Yashwant Sinha
    • C) Dr. Manmohan Singh
    • D) Indira Gandhi

4. What event signifies the start of printing budget documents?

    • A) Budget Day
    • B) Republic Day
    • C) Independence Day
    • D) Halwa Ceremony

Kindly share your responses in the comment section!!

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