Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman will present the Union Budget for the fiscal year 2023-24 in parliament today. She is expected to announce a slew of measures to bolster the economy amid global worries. For the third time in a row, the Budget will be presented in paperless format using a made-in-India tablet – a departure from the earlier briefcases used to hold Budget documents. The history of India’s Union Budget through the years is a fascinating one which includes several intriguing facts that have been forgotten with the passage of time. For example, do you know which Budget taxed rewards earned from solving puzzles? Read on to find out:
Here are some lesser-known facts about the Union Budget:
The word 'Budget' is derived from the old French word 'bougette' which means ‘leather bag.’
The first Budget of independent India was presented by RK Shanmukham Chetty with total expenditure of Rs 197.4 crore.
Different tax-exempt slabs for married and unmarried people were announced in the Budget of 1955-56.
The first and only Union Budget to be presented by Jawaharlal Nehru was for the years 1958-59. This Budget introduced a new taxation tool that was used in many western countries – the Gift Tax.
In 1962, the Budget raised income tax rates substantially. The highest rate was a staggering 72.5%.
The Budget of 1972-73 proposed a 34.5% tax on rewards earned from solving crossword puzzles, drawing widespread criticism from those who loved solving these puzzles.
In 1978, the Union Budget was presented barely a month after demonetisation in which the Janata Party government decided to scrap Rs 1,000, Rs 5,000 and Rs 10,000 notes to control illegal transactions.
The Budget of 1982-83 proposed to exempt from tax the unused earned leaves that employees encashed on retirement.
The setting up of the National Stock Exchange was announced in the 1993-94 Budget.