Budget 2021 will be paperless, another first as Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman delivers her third budget. This morning, she was seen carrying a tablet in a red sleeve, matching her cream and red silk sari, with the national emblem embossed on it.
Nirmala Sitharaman had famously replaced the standard Budget briefcase of finance ministers with the traditional red “Bahi-Khata” or cloth ledger in 2019 and she had stayed with it last year.
She said it was “high time” to shed the “British hangover”. Besides, it was easier to carry, she had confessed.
The paperless Budget, presented amid restrictions because of Covid, is also seen to be a push for Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s “Digital India” mission.
This year, the Finance Minister has launched the “Union Budget Mobile App” to enable MPs and people to access Budget documents easily.
For decades, India’s finance ministers had always carried briefcases that were red, black, tan or brown, which is a British tradition.
Ms Sitharaman will present her government’s plan at a time the country faces challenges ranging from a once-in-a-century pandemic, job losses and a farmer protest.
The Finance Minister has promised a “never before” budget; PM Modi tempered expectations saying the Budget would include measures announced in “4-5 mini budgets in 2020” for a pandemic-hit nation.