(This article was first published on 5 July 2019 and has been republished from The Quint's archive in view of the upcoming Union Budget 2020.)
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 on 5 July last year, arrived with a red cloth folder (bahi khata or a ledger notebook) instead of the briefcase, to present the Budget.
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.
‘What Happened to The Briefcase,’ Asks Twitter
Surprised with the departure from the British legacy, Tweeple questioned why the briefcase was missing in action.
Note the no briefcase look ... looks more contemporary for sure .. https://t.co/baBACSD4YL— pallavi ghosh (@_pallavighosh) July 5, 2019
‘Why Follow the Trend When You Can Set One’
One reason why it’s being called the #NewIndiaBudget. Why follow the trend, when you can set one ! @nsitharaman It is in Indian tradition. It symbolizes our departure from the slavery of Western thought. It is not a budget but a 'bahi khata'(ledger)#Budget2019 #budget pic.twitter.com/8PyudojpnZ— Akshat Gandhi (@AkshatGandhi09) July 5, 2019
It is in Indian tradition. It symbolizes our departure from slavery of Western thought. It is not a budget but a 'bahi khata'(ledger) :— Vikas Bhadauria (ABP News) (@vikasbha) July 5, 2019
Chief Economic Advisor K Subramanian on FM Nirmala Sitharaman keeping budget documents in four fold red cloth instead of a briefcase#देशकाबजट pic.twitter.com/dHP0pmDPUv
#NirmalaSitharaman does away with the #British legacy of 'Budget Briefcase' as she arrived with the traditional red cloth #BahiKhata" 2 present d #Budget2019 in #ParliamentSession today. pic.twitter.com/dXZ52Odavh— Gitanjali D.S (@Gitanjali_DS) July 5, 2019
Nirmala sitaraman used a bahi khata instead of briefcase to free the nation from western slavery. Then delivered a long speech in English in a British institution called parliament using a western invented mike in a hall cooled by western air conditioners and so on and so forth..— बांगडू बोल (@BangduBol) July 5, 2019
Avoid western inventions like computers, printers, scanners, calculators,copiers. Hand-write the bahi-khata on palm leaves, using quills & dyes.https://t.co/AgG6Z7heJd— Geet V (@geetv79) July 5, 2019
Blast From The Past
Here are photos of former finance ministers holding the briefcase, ahead of the budget presentation.
. Read more on India by The Quint.RSS & BJP’s Nehru-Netaji ‘Cosplay’: Irony Dies a Thousand DeathsBriefcase to ‘Bahi Khata’: When Sitharaman Ended British Tradition . Read more on India by The Quint.