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Budget 2024: 10 Intriguing Facts About the Union Budget

Union Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman is set to present the Interim Budget for the fiscal year 2024-25 on February 1. Here are 10 interesting facts about the Union Budget.

  1. Change in Presentation Date: Until 2016, the Union Budget was traditionally presented on the last working day of February. However, this changed with the presentation date now set for February 1.
  2. Historical Timing Shift: Until 1999, the Union Budget announcement occurred at 5:00 pm, following a colonial tradition. Finance Minister Yashwant Sinha changed the timing to 11 am starting in 2001.
  3. Halwa Ceremony Tradition: A week before presenting the Budget, a ‘Halwa ceremony’ is conducted where the Finance Minister distributes ‘Halwa’ among ministry officials, marking the beginning of the ‘lock-in’ period.
  4. Digital Transition: With the adoption of digital methods, the lock-in period has been reduced to just five days from the previous two weeks.
  5. Briefcase Tradition Discontinuation: The tradition of finance ministers carrying the Budget in a leather briefcase, in practice until 2018, has been discontinued.
  6. Paperless Budget Innovation: On February 1, 2021, Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman introduced the first paperless Budget using a digital tablet.
  7. Two Parts of the Union Budget: The Union Budget comprises two parts – the Annual Financial Statement and the Demand for Grants. The Annual Financial Statement summarizes the government’s revenue for the upcoming year, while the Demand for Grants outlines estimated expenditures.
  8. Parliamentary Procedure: The finance minister presents the Union Budget in a speech, which is followed by discussions and voting in the Lok Sabha.
  9. Mid-Year Review: A ‘mid-year review’ or ‘half-yearly report’ provides updates on the government’s financial performance during the fiscal year.
  10. Presidential Approval Tradition: Before presenting the Union Budget in Parliament, the finance minister meets the President at Rashtrapati Bhavan to seek approval, a custom followed for many years. Following the Budget speech, the finance minister, along with other ministers, engages in discussions with stakeholders.

Important Questions Related to Exams

  1. When was the Union Budget traditionally presented until 2016?
  2. What is the significance of the ‘Halwa ceremony’ in the budgetary process?
  3. How did the timing of the Union Budget announcement change in 1999, and who initiated this change?
  4. What marked the historic shift in the presentation of the Union Budget on February 1, 2021?

Kindly share your responses in the comment section.

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