People stand in front of the Indian parliament building (representational picture)
People stand in front of the Indian parliament building (representational picture)Reuters

India has had 25 finance ministers since Independence in 1947.

The word budget is derived from bowgette, which means 'a leather bag' in French. The budget is announced to disclose the government's future expenditures intended to strengthen the nation's economy and consolidate economic stability through tax proposals.

The budget was first introduced in India on 7 April, 1860 by the East-India Company to the  British Crown. Pre-independence finance minister, James Wilson presented the budget in 1860.

One week prior to  the disclosure, publishers of the budget under the finance ministry, are kept isolated from the press and other sources.

Earlier budget papers were printed in Rashtrapati Bhavan. The printing venue  was shifted to Minto Road in New Delhi.  Since 1980, budget papers are printed in the North Block.

Shanmukham Chetty, first Finance Minister of India presented the budget in November 1947 without any tax proposals. However , he presented the analysis of the economic scenario of Independent India just 95 days before the budget presentation in 1948.

 Liaquat Ali Khan was the finance minister of the All India Muslim League from October 1946 to Independence in 1947.

After Chetty, K.C Neogy took charge of the  finance department for 35 days.John Mathai was the third finance minister to present the budget in 1950-51 before C.D Deshmukh, who presented the budget in the newly formed Indian Parliament. Deshmukh was the first Indian RBI governor and Finance Minister from 1950 to 1956.

Budget papers in Hindi were being printed from 1955 onwards.

Jawaharlal Nehru ,the first Prime Minister, presented the budget when he was Union Finance Minister as well in 1958-1959. Later in 1959, Morarji Desai when became Finance minister  he presented the budget 10 times, a record so far. He presented two budgets on February 29 on  his birthday in the years 1964 and 1968.

The budget of 1973-74 is known as the 'Black Budget' as the nation had a deficit of Rs.550 crore.

After Desai's resignation in 1979, Indira Gandhi took over as the first and only female Finance Minister of India.

The  1987 budget was presented by Rajiv Gandhi after V.P. Singh quit the government . Gandhi introduced the corporate tax.

In 1991 Yashwant Sinha from NDA, presented the interim budget, but in the same year Congress regained its power and appointed Manmohan Singh as Finance Minister. In 1991, he introduced the concept of service tax, and foreign investment proposals and reduction of peak import duty from 300 percent to 50 percent.

P.Chidambaram in 1996 presented the budget without a debate, following constitutional crises during I.K Gujral's prime -ministership. A year later, he again proposed the 'Dream Budget'.

Till the year 2000, the Union budget was announced at 5 pm, but Yashwant Sinha began a new trend by announcing it at 11 am in 2001.

The  'Sarva Siksha Abhiyan Programme' was announced during the 2001 budget when Atal Bihari Vajpayee was the prime minister.

Yashwant Sinha's 1991, 1999, 2000 and 2001 budgets followed Forex crises, the Pokhran blasts, the Kargil war and Gujarat earthquake respectively.

The National Rural Health Mission, Gender Budget and NREGA schemes were announced in the 2005-06 budget.

 Morarji Desai topped the list with 10 budget presentations.  Pranab Mukherjee, P Chidambaram, Yashwant Sinha, Y B Chavan and C D Deshmukh are next with seven budget presentations each.

Manmohan Singh and T T Krishnamachari presented six budgets each and R Venkatraman and H M Patel presented three budgets as Finance Minister.

 Jaswant Singh, V P Singh, C Subramaniam, John Mathai and R K Shanmukham got an opportunity to present budgets twice.