What’s in a ‘Bahi Khata’, why not a briefcase?
The word "Budget" originates from the French word "bougette" meaning leather bag.
Symbolically, Union Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman on Friday gave up on the British-era tradition of carrying budget documents in a briefcase. Over the years, finance ministers have carried red, black, and brown briefcases to the Lok Sabha to present the Union Budget. The word "budget" originates from the French word "bougette" meaning leather bag.
Visuals of Sitharaman moving out of the Finance Ministry on Friday morning with a red folder in her hand with the national emblem embossed over it caused a lot of buzz in the media. The word ‘Bahi Khata’ began to trend. For, keeping documents in the red cloth folder is the traditional way in which Indian businesses keep their documents.
Officials introduced the “new beginning” to surprised press people as the "bahi khata".
Chief Economic Advisor Krishnamurthy Subramanian on FM Nirmala Sitharaman keeping budget documents in four fold red cloth instead of a briefcase: It is in Indian tradition. It symbolizes our departure from slavery of Western thought. It is not a budget but a 'bahi khata'(ledger) pic.twitter.com/ZhXdmnfbvl— ANI (@ANI) July 5, 2019
However, there are already netizens criticizing the move.
Meaningless symbolism that panders only to the die hard Sanghi and that too the upper caste Bhrahmin/Baniya s. Will all Sanghi’s stop going to the West or even return from there. And will this increase employment? https://t.co/YtlD02Y6Up— Sidharth Bhatia (@bombaywallah) July 5, 2019
The tradition of carrying the annual Budget documents in a "budget case" is known to have originated in the 18th century in the British Parliament.
Presenting the interim Budget earlier this year before the Lok Sabha elections, Finance Minister Piyush Goyal had carried a red briefcase to Parliament. The earlier Finance Minister Arun Jaitley used to carry the budget documents in a tan coloured briefcase. While presenting the legendary 1991 budget, then Finance Minister Manmohan Singh carried the papers in a black bag. Former President Pranab Mukherjee as Finance Minister used to carry a red briefcase.