Sitharaman returns with the traditional 'bahi khata' for the 2020-21 Budget

NEW DELHI: For its second presentation of the budget, the Minister of Finance of the Union, Nirmala Sitharaman, took documents on Saturday in a traditional 'Bahi-Khata' (ledger) wrapped in a red cloth, similar to what the year had been past.

Dressed in yellow silk sari, accompanied by Anurag Thakur of MoS Finance and other officials of her ministry, Sitharam will meet with President Ram Nath Kovind before presenting the budget at 11 am today. The duration of the speech on the budget generally varies from 90 to 120 minutes.

Last year, Sitharaman had abandoned the ancient tradition of carrying budget documents in a leather briefcase and left with a 'bahi-khata'.

Live plus Commenting on the change of a briefcase to 'bahi-khata' during the 89th Union Budget, the Chief Economic Adviser, Krishnamurthy Subramanian had told ANI in July last year: The government follows the Indian tradition and symbolizes our departure from the slavery of Western Thought.

When asked about the replacement of the briefcase, Subramanian had said: It is not a budget, but a Bahi-Khata (ledger).

Sitharaman believes that products made of leather are not conducive to the big occasion, so he avoided the leather bag and took the 'bahi khata' wrapped in the red cloth. This is considered auspicious, he said.

In July of last year, Sitharaman had said that the Modi government is not a government carrying suitcases, in an apparent mockery of past dispensations.

Before Sitharaman, a long tradition was broken regarding the presentation of the budget during the government of Atal Bihari Vajpayee with the then Minister of Finance, Yashwant Sinha, presenting the budget at 11 am instead of the traditional time of the 5 in the afternoon.

Since then, all governments have presented the budget at 11 am.