Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman while presenting the Union Budget 2019 on Friday, followed the tradition of reciting poetry and couplets in Budget speeches by quoting lines by Chankaya and late Urdu poet Manzoor Hashmi.
The finance minister read a couplet by Hashmi before starting the Budget speech: "Yaqin ho to koi rasta nikalta hai, hava ki ot bhi le kar chirag jalta hai" (if there is belief then a road ahead will open up, sheltered from the winds the lamp will burn brightly)."
Nirmala Sitharaman also quoted a sutra from Chanakya: "Kaarya purusha kare na lakshyam sampa dayate" (If we have determined efforts, the task will surely be completed).
Sitharaman, who served as the defence minister in the first term of Narendra Modi government, presented her first budget at a time when India lost its top ranking as the world's fastest-growing economy.
India's gross domestic product growth (GDP) had slumped to 5.8 percent in the March quarter - the slowest pace in 20 quarters. This year, the prime focus in the Budget is expected to be on ways to stimulate economic growth.
The finance minister highlighted that India currently held the sixth largest economy in the world and assured that it would grow to become a "$3 trillion economy in the current year".
Doing away with the traditional brown budget briefcase, Sitharaman opted for a red bag, with the national emblem emblazoned on top of it.
Speaking to ANI, Chief Economic Advisor Krishnamurthy Subramanian, when asked about the replacement of the briefcase, said, "Sitharaman believes that leather made products are not auspicious for the big occasion, so she avoided the leather bag and took the bahi khata wrapped in the red cloth. This is considered to be auspicious. Also, ditching the briefcase symbolises our departure from the slavery of western thought."
According to Subramanian, it is in Indian tradition. Speaking to reporters outside Parliament, he said, "It symbolises our departure from slavery of Western thought. It is not a budget but a 'bahi khata'(ledger)."
Earlier, Sitharaman had ditched another tradition during the customary halwa ceremony before the Budget Session. She untied the red ribbon instead of cutting it. According to officials, the finance minister did not believe that cutting a ribbon is considered auspicious, NDTV reported
Updated Date: Jul 05, 2019 12:53:40 IST