New Delhi: Union Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman on Saturday returned with the ‘Bahi Khata,’ ahead of presenting the Union Budget at 11 AM today. The practice of carrying the Budget documents in ‘Bahi Khata,’ instead of the traditional briefcase, was introduced by the Finance Minister when she presented her first Budget last July. (Click here for all Union Budget 2020 news)

The Finance Minister was flanked by MoS (Finance) Anurag Thakur, Chief Economic Adviser (CEA) KV Subramanian and other Finance Ministry officials. Clad in a yellow saree, she held the ‘Bahi Khata‘ outside the Finance Ministry as media persons clicked photos of the entire Budget team.

Last year, in an image that went viral, the Finance Minister was seen clad in a pink saree, holding the ‘Bahi Khata.’

Speaking to news agency ANI, CEA Subramanian had described it as a ‘departure from the slavery of Western thoughts.’ “The government is following Indian tradition and ‘Bahi Khata‘ symbolises our departure from the slavery of Western thought,” he had said.

The word ‘Bahi Khata‘ was used by the CEA, who, on being asked about the briefcase being replaced, had said, “It is not a Budget, but a ‘Bahi Khata‘ (ledger).”

The earlier practice had the Finance Minister carry Budget documents-which primarily include papers related to revenue receipt and expenditure as well as the speech of finance minister-in a brown, leather briefcase.

In fact, the practice of introducing the Budget at 11 AM, itself, is a departure from a long-standing tradition. Since 1999, Budgets have been tabled in the Lok Sabha at 11 AM, with the practice being introduced by the then-Finance Minister Yashwant Sinha.

Earlier, Union Budgets were tabled at 5 PM.