Nirmala Sitharaman shunned the traditional briefcase usually held up by finance ministers on the steps to the Parliament before presenting the Budget. Instead, she was seen holding the Budget documents in a red folder tied up with a golden string and emblazoned with the national emblem.
Chief Economic Advisor Krishnamurthy Subramanian said keeping budget documents in a four-fold red cloth instead of a briefcase was part of “Indian tradition”. Subramanian said it symbolised “our departure from slavery of Western thought.”
“Ms Sitharaman believes that leather made products are not auspicious for the big occasion, so she avoided the leather bag and took the bahi khata. This is considered to be auspicious. The Finance Minister has worked in the UK and she knows the tradition of our country. We must appreciate her decision,” he said, NDTV quoted.
This is Sitharaman’s first budget as finance minister and the first since the Narendra Modi-led BJP government came back to power.
The pre-Budget Economic Survey released on Thursday said India’s economic growth would rebound from a five-year low this year, but would need a huge boost in spending and reforms to accelerate higher rate of expansion to double the economy’s size to $5 trillion by 2024-25.
Stepping up private investments, exports and job creation will be key to achieving the target, the survey presented in Parliament by Sitharaman said.
The real gross domestic product growth, which slowed to a five-year of 5.8 per cent in the first three months of 2019 ― well below China’s 6.4 per cent, is expected to rise to 7 per cent in the fiscal year 2019-20 that started in April, it said.
GDP growth was 6.8 per cent in 2018-19, down from 7.2 per cent in 2017-18.
The BJP government had on 1 February unveiled an interim budget before the general election, with giveaways for rural citizens and the middle class.
(With PTI inputs)