Ever Wondered Why Does the Finance Minister Carry a Briefcase on Budget Day? 

Is it a new trend? 

Ever Wondered Why Does the Finance Minister Carry a Briefcase on Budget Day? 
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A white kurta-pajama or a bandhgala suit adorned with a Nehru jacket. When we see a man dressed like that, the first thought that comes to our mind is that he is a politician. 

But there is another trend, that I have been observing for years. Have you noticed Arun Jaitley carrying a briefcase when he walks in to announce the budget? At first, I thought it was just a mark of professionalism, but then I saw the finance minister carrying the briefcase year after year. And, that set the curiosity antenna within me rolling and I decided to dig deep. 

You will be astonished to know that this trend has been followed for centuries. Yes, CENTURIES. But the question is WHY?

The answer lies in the word 'BUDGET'

The answer lies in the word 'BUDGET'

The word 'budget' comes from a French word, 'bougette', which means a leather bag.

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It all began in the 18th century

It all began in the 18th century
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In the 18th century, the Chancellor of the exchequer or Britain's budget chief William E. Gladstone was asked to present the budget. It was his annual statement and he used a red suitcase with Queen's monogram embossed in gold. It had a bundle of papers in it. 

He struck a pose holding the suitcase

He struck a pose holding the suitcase
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Like Indian Finance Minister, Britain's budget minister held the suitcase to strike a pose in front of Number 11 Downing St. before entering the Parliament for his budget speech. 

William E. Gladstone has been using the bag since 1860

William E. Gladstone has been using the bag since 1860
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The bag was used for so long that in 2010 it was officially retired. William E. Gladstone used it in every budget since 1860. 

In India, the trend began on...

In India, the trend began on...
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When the first-ever budget was presented by Finance Minister RK Shanmukham Chetty on November 26, 1947, he was seen carrying a briefcase.  

Indian FM's budget bag is a copy of the British Finance Minister

Indian FM's budget bag is a copy of the British Finance Minister
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Indian budget bag differs in colour and shape which changes every year. But overall, the intention is nothing but to replicate Britain budget chief William E. Gladstone's red bag. 

It isn't just a small prop

It isn't just a small prop
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It may look like a small prop for Indian government officials, but one must know that the bag carries guidelines that define the nation's economic progress. 

The variety of budget bags

The variety of budget bags
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During the 1998-1999 budget Finance minister Yashwant Sinha was seen carrying a black coloured leather bag with straps and buckles. While during the famous 1991 budget, the former prime minister Manmohan Singh carried a plain black budget bag. President Pranab Mukherjee came to parliament with a reddish box which was just like the one used in Britain.

The bag Arun Jaitley uses

The bag Arun Jaitley uses
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Though from past few years the shape of the bag is somewhat consistent, the change in the colour is often noticed. 

Carrying a bag is now a ritual 

Carrying a bag is now a ritual 
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It has now become a ritual for Finance Ministers to carry a budget bag to the Assembly when they deliver the budget plan. 

Well, it seems just like Nehru jacket, the bag is also a mark of identity for the politicians, on budget day. 

That's all, readers. I hope you liked the story.
If you have an interesting story to share, do write to me at guneet@wittyfeed.com