Sanjeev Kumar Patro

Bhubaneswar: Since Independence, the country has seen a total of around 75 budgets, including interim budgets. The Union Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman will be presenting the 76th Union Budget on Monday.

Here is a glance at the History of Union Budget In India.

When rewinding to Pre-independence India, the fact emerges out is the first Indian Budget was presented by James Wilson on February 18, 1869. Wilson, whose designation was Finance Member of the India Council that advised the Indian Viceroy, was also the founder of The Economist and described by Karl Marx as an "economical mandarin of high standing".

But the first Union Budget of Independent India was presented by the first Finance Minister of Independent India, Sir R.K. Shanmugham Chetty, on November 26, 1947.

The first Union Budget was presented amidst widespread riots due to the partition of India. This budget was meant for seven and a half months, following which the next budget was to be implemented from April 1, 1948. It was the first Union Budget wherein it was decided that both India and Pakistan would share the same currency till September 1948.

Post the resignation of  Sir Chetty, the responsibility ultimately was passed on to John Mathai, who presented the subsequent Union Budgets of 1949-50 and 1950-51. The budget of 1949-50 was the first instance of a budget being prepared for a United India, including all princely states.


  • Indira Gandhi was the only woman Finance Minister who was also the Prime Minister while presenting the budget.
  • Former Finance Minister Morarji Desai had presented the budget ten times - the most by any Finance Minister.
  • The Railway Budget of the country has always been introduced as a separate budget for the past 92 years till the year 2017, which saw the merger of the railway budget into the Union budget.
  • Atal Behari Vajpayee Govt changed the budget presentation time – from evening 6 to 11 am in the morning.
  • The present government has shifted the budget announcement from the last working day of February to the first working day of February.

Land Mark Budgets

  • The Budget for the financial year 1973-74 is known as the "Black Budget" as the nation had a deficit of Rs550cr.


  • The country’s media termed the Union Budget of India for the year 1997-98, as the "Dream Budget" because it had the road map for economic reforms in India including dropping of income tax rates, removal of the surcharge on corporate taxes, and reduction of corporate tax rates. Chidambaram presented the Voluntary Disclosure of Income Scheme in this budget – for which he received both the bouquets and the brickbats.


  • However, the Union Budget that changed India’s future and that unleashed the term ‘economic reforms’ in India was the Budget of 1991-92, presented by the then Finance Minister, Dr Manmohan Singh. Under the leadership of P.V. Narasimha Rao. The Budget was a landmark for the country as it opened up India’s economy to foreign investors and eased up trade blockages.


  • The Union Budget 2000-01 was known as the Millennium Budget. Because the budget had transformed the Indian economy into a tech-hub. The NDA Finance Minister Yashwant Sinha had presented the budget. That budget, announced a reduction in customs duties for a few raw materials required for the production of the optical fibre by almost 10 per cent and by 20 per cent in case of mobile phones.