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 word 'budget' comes from a French word, 'bougette', which means a leather bag.
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.
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.
The bag was used for so long that in 2010 it was officially retired. William E. Gladstone used it in every budget since 1860.
When the first-ever budget was presented by Finance Minister RK Shanmukham Chetty on November 26, 1947, he was seen carrying a briefcase.
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 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.
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.
Though from past few years the shape of the bag is somewhat consistent, the change in the colour is often noticed.
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.
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