FM Sitharaman to present Budget on digital device instead of 'bahi-khata'

FM Sitharaman to present Budget on digital device instead of 'bahi-khata'
Nirmala SitharamanTwitter
Union Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman will present the Union Budget for 2023-24 with a digital device instead of the traditional 'bahi-khata' in her hands. Wednesday's Budget will be Sitharaman's fifth Budget presentation as Finance Minister.

In 2019, the Union Budget was presented in a traditional 'bahi-khata' rather than a leather briefcase. It was the first time since independence that any Finance Minister had 'opted out' of a briefcase or a hardbound leather bag.
The minister in 2019 not only garnered huge attention for carrying a 'bahi-khata', but also for implying the rich culture the country holds.

A 'bahi-khata' holds prominence in Indian culture, tradition and history. For decades, the Indian way of managing accounts and keeping a record of bills was done in a 'bahi-khata'. Traders, merchants, sailors and even small shopkeepers have retained this way of preserving their data.

However in 2021, due to the Covid-19 pandemic, the government had to take necessary steps to maintain the security and safety of everyone. The Finance Minister moved ahead with the first paperless Budget holding a digital tablet wrapped in a red-coloured cover with the national emblem emblazoned on it.

The same year, the minister also launched the 'Union Budget Mobile App' for hassle-free access of Budget documents by the parliamentarians and the general public. Following the same trend the next year, the Union Budget 2022 was also a paperless budget.

On Wednesday, the Budget documents will be available on the 'Union Budget Mobile App' on both the Android and Apple OS platforms after the completion of the Budget Speech by the Finance Minister.

Like every year, the Finance Minister will first visit the North Block situated at Raisina Hill ahead of the Budget presentation on Wednesday. Following this, she will meet President Droupadi Murmu and will present the Union Budget 2023 at 11 AM in Parliament.

Earlier on Tuesday, Sitharaman tabled the Economic Survey for the Financial Year 2022-23 in the Lok Sabha, stating that the economic recovery of India from the Covid-19 pandemic is complete and the economy is expected to grow in the range of 6 to 6.8 per cent in the coming financial year 2023-24. This is in comparison to the estimated 7 per cent this fiscal and 8.7 per cent in 2021-22.

Budget 2023 is likely to be the last full Budget of the Modi government in its second term with the next Lok Sabha election due in April-May of 2024. A large section of people expect reduced taxes, loan rates, and reduced prices of essential commodities.

The Budget Session of the Parliament began on Tuesday with President Droupadi Murmu's address to the joint session where she spoke about different topics during her maiden address after being elected to the topmost office of the country last year.

Ahead of the Budget session of Parliament, Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Tuesday said, "India's Budget will attempt to meet the hopes and aspirations of the common citizens amid the unstable global economic situation."

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