A look at 10 interesting facts about Union Budget of India:
The first Union Budget of independent India was presented on November 26, 1947 by former finance minister RK Shanmukham Chetty.
The highest number of budget presentations have been made by former finance minister Morarji Desai. He presented 10 union budgets, followed by P Chidambaram's 9 and Pranab Mukherjee's 8.
On February 29 in 1964 and 1968, Morarji Desai became the only finance minister to present the Union budget on his birthday.
After Morarji Desai's resignation from finance minister's post in 1969, Indira Gandhi, the then Prime Minister of India, took over the Ministry of Finance to become the only woman to hold the post of the Finance Minister. She remains the only woman finance minister of India till date.
About 10-12 days ahead of the budget presentation, a customary 'halwa ceremony' is performed in which large quantities of the sweet dish is prepared for the officers and staff. These officials remain isolated and stay in the North Block while the budget documents get printed. The budget work is performed in full secrecy. The traditional significance is that a sweet should be eaten before beginning of an important work.
In 1997-98, the Union Budget was passed without any debate, following a constitutional crisis when the IK Gujral Ministry was on its way out and a special session of parliament was convened just to pass the Union Budget.
The 1997-98 Union Budget, presented by the Finance Minister P Chidambaram, was termed as "Dream Budget" as a number of economic reforms were done including lowering income tax rates, removal of the surcharge on corporate taxes and reduced corporate tax rates.
Until the year 1999, the Union Budget was announced at 5 pm on the last working day of February. Former finance minister in the NDA government Yashwant Sinha, however, changed the ritual by announcing the 1999 Union Budget at 11 am.
Till 2016 the Union Budget was presented on the last working day of February. Finance Minister Arun Jaitley, however, changed that tradition in 2017, the Union Budget was presented on February 1 and the tradition is likely to continue.
Similarly, till 2016, the railway budget was presented a few days before the Union budget. In 2017, however, the railway budget was presented along with the Union Budget, breaking a 92-year-old practice. This year too, the two important budgets will be presented together by Finance Minister Arun Jaitley on February 1.