Budget 2022 | A look at the history of budget briefcase Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman will present Union Budget 2022 on February 1, 2022. This year too she will present her speech in the parliament from a tablet. The budget briefcase has come a long way and have evolved over the years. The tradition of carrying the Budget papers in a briefcase was handed over to us by the British. India’s Budget briefcase was a copy of the ‘Gladstone box’ that is used in British budget. India too followed the British tradition but unlike the UK, in India different FMs used to carry different briefcase or bags of different colours.
January 31, 2022 / 08:30 PM IST
Union Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman will present her fourth budget for the Modi government on February 1, 2022. She will once again read out her Budget speech at the parliament from a tablet. In a historic move, the Union Budget 2021 was delivered in a paperless form for the first time. This year’s Union Budget is also going to be a paperless format. A look at how the Union Budget presentation evolved over the years.
The tradition of carrying the Budget papers in a briefcase was handed over to us by the British. India’s Budget briefcase was a copy of the ‘Gladstone box’ that is used in British budget. (Image: News18 Creative)
In 1860, the then British budget chief William E. Gladstone used a red suitcase with the Queen’s monogram embossed in gold to carry his bundle of papers, which later got popular as ‘Gladstone Box’. (Image: Wikipedia)
Budget briefcase came into being because Gladstone’s speeches were extraordinarily long and he needed a briefcase to carry his speech papers. (Image: News18 Creative)
Ever since then, the UK has stuck to the red Gladstone box in their every budget session. In Britain one budget briefcase is passed on from a finance minister to another but the original Gladstone bag had become so shabby that it was officially retired in 2010. (Image: News18 Creative)
India too followed the British tradition but unlike the UK, in India different FMs used to carry different briefcase or bags of different colours. (Image: News18 creative)
On Budget Day, the Finance Minister of India poses with the Budget bag outside the parliament. In Britain, the Chancellor of the Exchequer poses with his suitcase in front of 11 Downing Street before Budget speech. (Image: Reuters)
India’s first finance minister RK Shanmukham Chetty carried a leather portfolio to present the first budget of India on November 26, 1947. (Image: News18 Creative)
1970-2019 onwards, Indian Finance Ministers started carrying a hardbound briefcase. Unlike Britain, its shape and colour used to vary. Like in 1974, then finance minister Yashwantrao Chavan carried a steel-lined suitcase to present the Budget to Parliament, whereas in 2015 then FM Arun Jaitley carried a tan briefcase. (Image: News18 Creative)
In 2019, Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman ditched the colonial legacy of a Budget Briefcase and opted for the ‘Bahi Khata’ to carry Union Budget papers. She said, “For Budget 2019, I did not carry a suitcase. We are not a suitcase carrying government. A suitcase also denotes something else, ‘suitcase taking, suitcase giving.’ Modiji’s government is not a suitcase government.” (Image: Reuters)
In 2021, FM Nirmala Sitharaman switched ‘bahi-khaata’ with a ‘tablet’ for Budget presentation, going completely paperless for the first time and has gone digital in the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic.