New Delhi: Breaking decades-old tradition of carrying the Budget documents in a briefcase, Union finance minister Nirmala Sitharaman on Friday carried her documents in a four-fold red cloth with Ashoka emblem on the centre. It resembled the cloth used to wrap religious texts in earlier days or like the red-coloured bahi katha (ledger) which was used to wrap account files.
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It is believed that with this the finance minister tried to demolish the British hangover. Speaking to the media earlier in the morning, Cheif Economic Advisor Narayanan Subramanian said, “Sitharaman believes that leather made products are not auspicious for the big occasion, so she avoided the leather bag and took the bahi-khata wrapped in the red cloth. This is considered to be auspicious.”
Reacting to this ‘symbolic’ change, former finance minister P Chidambaram today in a press conference quipped, “Take it from me, our Congress’ finance minister will in future bring an I-Pad.”
Ever since Independence, all finance ministers here have carried Budget documents in a briefcase to the Parliament. And this ‘tradition’ is influenced by the Britishers who started using the ‘briefcase’ from the 18th century.
Speaking to reporters at the Parliament, Sitharaman had said that she found carrying documents in bahi katha much more comfortable.
Notable, by definition the word ‘budget’ is linked to ‘leather bag’ since budget originates from the French word ‘bougette’ or ‘leather bag’.