New Delhi | Jagran News Desk: Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman is all set to present her fourth Budget on February 1, 2022. It will be pivotal in defining the way forward for the Indian economy amid the ongoing third wave of the Covid pandemic. While everyone knows that the announcement of Budget is an important event, have you ever wondered why it is introduced at 11 am on February 1 every year?
Why is the Budget presented on February 1?
This change took place in 2017 during the NDA government, led by Prime Minister Narendra Modi. Departing from the colonial-era tradition of presenting the Union Budget on the last working day of February, then Finance Minister Arun Jaitley said that it would henceforth be presented on Feb 1.
Why was the Budget presented at 5 pm on the last working day of February?
Earlier, the Union Budget used to be announced at 5 pm on the last working day of February, and the practice was in existence till 1999. This was followed as a tradition which was carryover by the British Raj according to their lawmakers in London’s House of Commons. This happened because there was a time-zone gap between New Delhi (+5.30 hours ahead of Greenwich Mean Time) and Westminster, UK. The Indian time zone was 4.5 hours ahead of BST (British Summer Time).
When and why was it changed to the current date and time?
Yashwant Sinha, who was India’s Finance Minister from 1998 to 2002 during the Atal Bihari Vajpayee-led NDA government, changed the ritual by announcing the 1999 Union Budget at 11 am. The thought behind the agreement was that the time shift could lead to better analysis of numbers and announcements and better rational and informed debate on the budget. The request was noted and on February 27, 1999, Sinha presented the budget at 11 am for the first time in the history of Independent India.