Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman is all set to be the sixth minister of independent India to present the Union Budget five times in a row. With this, she is joining legends like former finance ministers: P Chidambaram Arun Jaitley, Yashwant Sinha, Manmohan Singh and Morarji Desai. Her first Budget speech was in February 2019.
Since becoming the finance minister of the Modi government in 2014, Jaitley has presented five consecutive budgets in a row from 2014-15 to 2018-19.
In 2017, Jaitley broke with the colonial tradition of presenting the budget on the last day of February. Instead, he delivered the budget on the first day of the month.
In 2019, while Jaitley was recovering from his illness, Piyush Goyal took over as the interim finance minister. He presented the interim budget for the 2019-20 or vote on account of the financial year.
With Modi government 2.0, Sitharaman became the second woman to have presented the budget in independent India since late Prime Minister Indira Gandhi who had presented the budget in the financial year 1970-71. Sitharaman breaking away from the budget briefcase rule introduced the ‘Bahi-Khata’ with the national emblem for carrying her budget speech and other documents.
P Chidambaram, who was the finance minister of the Congress-led UPA government, presented five consecutive budgets from 2004 to 2009.
During the Atal Bihari government of the BJP, the finance minister, Yashwant Sinha Sinha, presented four budgets from 1999 to 2002 and the interim budget of 1998-99. Under Sinha, the time for the presentation of the Budget changed from 5 pm to 11 am.
Manmohan Singh was the finance minister of the Narasimha Rao government. He presented five consecutive budgets from 1991-92 to 1995-96. His 1991-92 budget is considered one of the landmark budget statements as it introduced various economic reforms to liberalize the country’s economy.
Late prime minister Morarji Desai presented five consecutive budgets and a total of ten budgets. He holds the tag of presenting the highest number of budgets of independent India.