NEW DELHI: Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman will present her second Budget presentation at 11 am on Saturday. She carried the traditional 'Bahi-Khata' wrapped in a red cloth which is similar to what she carried last year.
Not only the 'Bahi-Khata' has a reason behind it, but the presentation of Budget at 11 am also too has a story.
Earlier the Budget was presented at the customary time of 5 pm. However, the long-standing tradition in connection with the budget presentation was broken during the Atal Bihari Vajpayee government with the then Finance Minister Yashwant Sinha presenting the budget at 11 am rather than at the traditional time of 5 pm. Since then all governments have been presenting the budget at 11 am.
On the shift from the leather bag to the traditional 'Bahi-Khata', it was Sitharaman during the 89th Union Budget that she ditched the long-standing tradition of carrying budget documents in a leather briefcase and went swadeshi with a 'bahi-khata' as it is considered more auspicious.
When asked about the replacement of the briefcase, Chief Economic Advisor, Krishnamurthy Subramanian had earlier said, "The government is following Indian tradition and 'bahi khata' symbolises our departure from the slavery of Western thought."
He added, "Sitharaman believes that leather made products are not auspicious for the big occasion, so she avoided the leather bag and took the 'bahi khata' wrapped in the red cloth. This is considered to be auspicious."
In July last year, Sitharaman had said that the Modi government is not a "suitcase-carrying government", in an apparent jibe at the past dispensations.