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From 1860 to 2023, Tracing The Union Budget History

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Last Updated: January 09, 2023, 13:10 IST

A person paid a two per cent tax if their annual income was less than Rs 500.

A person paid a two per cent tax if their annual income was less than Rs 500.

The Budget was first presented to the British Crown on April 7, 1860, by Scottish economist and statesman James Wilson of the East India Company.

Union Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman will soon present the Union Budget 2023 in Parliament. This will be her fourth time presenting financial statements and tax proposals for the fiscal year 2022-23.

Each year, we look forward to the budget for some relaxation and plan a layout for the upcoming year.

Ahead of Budget 2023, let’s turn back the clock and find who led the foundation stone of India’s future hopes.

The Union Budget was first presented to the British Crown on April 7, 1860, by Scottish economist and statesman James Wilson of the East India Company. During the first British India budget, the makers accounted for four components of the source of income. Revenue derived from property, profession, or business, securities, as well as pay and pension income, were taken into account. There were only two tax slabs back then.

A person paid a two per cent tax if their annual income was less than Rs 500. While income over Rs 500 was subject to 4% tax. Accordingly, those with incomes of less than Rs 500 had to pay 10 taxes, while those with higher incomes had to pay 20 taxes. Do you know the man who introduced paper money to our country? None other than James Wilson.

Now, you might be wondering when India witnessed its first independent budget. It was on November 26, 1947, when independent India’s first union budget was presented by RK Shanmukham Chetty, who served as the Finance Minister at the time. The Union Budget was delivered at 5 o’clock on the final business day of February up until 1999, following British tradition. The timing of the budget presentation was adjusted to 11 am in 1999 by the late Yashwant Sinha, the finance minister.

In contrast to the colonial-era custom of presenting the Union Budget on the final working day of the month, Arun Jaitley began doing it on February 1 of 2017. The Union Budget was delivered in English up until 1955. But the Congress-led administration ultimately chose to print the Budget documents in both Hindi and English.

The Covid-19 outbreak eliminated paper from the budget for 2021–2022, a first for Independent India. After Indira Gandhi, Nirmala Sitaraman is the second woman in Indian history to present the union budget.

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