The Budget for 2021 will be paperless for the first time since Independence

The Finance Ministry have declared paperless budget for the first time since Independence.

The Finance Ministry had decided to issue a paperless budget for the first time since Independence.

In the extreme circumstances of the COVID-19 pandemic, the government received permission from both the houses of the parliament to not print the budget. This decision was taken as the print process would require a number of people to stay at the press for approximately a fortnight amidst the coronavirus pandemic.

Normally, the budget documents are printed at the Finance Ministry’s in-house printing press in the North block.

The budget for 2021-2022 may see several modifications due to the unforeseen nature of the pandemic. Some conventions such as the traditional ‘Halwa’ ceremony may not take place or there maybe a somber gathering with limited people. This function usually begins around 20th January, is populated by people involved in budget-making and marks the beginning of printing.

Once printing begins, the printing staff usually stay inside the press until presentation of the business. A few high-ranked officials are allowed access and only with a special identity card. The entire facility, loading-unloading and transportation is operated by special security forces.

In Nirmala Sitharaman’s reign as Finance Minister, this isn’t the first time there would be a change in the traditional presentation of the budget. Last year, she carried Budget papers in a briefcase similar to the colonial-era style. She introduced the Budget ‘Bahi Khata’ or a ledger enclosed in a red cloth folder tied with a string.

The paperless budget is scheduled to be presented by Nirmala Sitharaman on 1st February, 2021.

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