FM presents paperless Budget, brings tablet in traditional 'bahi-khata' style pouch to Parliament

FM Nirmala Sitharaman is presenting the Budget 2023 in the Lok Sabha and she continues the tradition of a paperless budget for the third year in a row.

| Updated on: Feb 01 2023, 11:48 IST
Digital budget
FM Nirmala Sitharaman chose to go paper-less once again as she presents the annual budget using a tablet. (AP)
Digital budget
FM Nirmala Sitharaman chose to go paper-less once again as she presents the annual budget using a tablet. (AP)

Presenting her fifth Union Budget, Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman has opted to go paperless again. She brought a digital tablet wrapped in a traditional bahi-khata style pouch instead of the traditional briefcase or leather bag. This will be the third time in a row the annual budget will be presented in a paperless format. This was first introduced in 2021 by Sitharaman herself. The decision was then taken in the wake of the Covid-19 pandemic as it would have required about a 100 people spending a fortnight in close proximity in a printing press. But even as the pandemic subsided, the government decided to stay with the move. A Union Budget Mobile App was also developed to let others access the budget documents once it was presented.

Today, FM Sitharaman was snapped outside her office along with her team of officials before heading to meet the President. She was seen holding a tablet, confirming that she would be presenting a paperless budget for the third time in a row. With the tablet carefully kept inside a red cover with a golden-coloured national emblem embossed on it instead of the briefcase, she went straight to Parliament after meeting President Droupadi Murmu at Rashtrapati Bhawan. You can catch the Union Budget 2023 Live Online here and Live TV here

Nirmala Sitharaman to again present a paperless budget

The current finance minister is not new to breaking traditions and creating new ones. Sitharaman, India's first full-time woman Finance Minister, had in July 2019 ditched the Budget briefcase, which represented a colonial legacy, for the traditional 'bahi-khata' to carry Union Budget papers. She used the same in the following year, and in a pandemic-hit 2021, she swapped traditional papers with a digital tablet for carrying her speech as well as other Budget documents.

"Why did I not use a leather bag to carry budget documents? I thought it is high time we move on from the British hangover, to do something on our own. And well, easier for me to carry too," she had said.

Her Budget for the fiscal year beginning April 2023 is the current government's 11th straight Budget since 2014 (including one interim Budget presented ahead of general elections in 2019). Sitharaman took the reins of the finance ministry in 2019 and ever since she has kept her position. This is the fifth time she will be presenting the budget.

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First Published Date: 01 Feb, 11:15 IST
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