Sanjeev Kumar Patro

Bhubaneswar: It seems the hon’ble members of Odisha State Assembly are very happy to oblige to the British tradition of presenting the budget at 5 pm in the evening.

This is so when the Union Budget in Parliament is being tabled on the floor of the Lok Sabha at 11 am since the year 1999.

Even, many progressive states in India like  Maharashtra, Karnataka, Delhi and Uttar Pradesh have been presenting their budgets at 11 am in the morning like the Union Budget. But the ancient and hoary state of Kalinga takes pride in the British tradition.


In the year 1999, for the first time in the country’s budgetary history, the Union Budget was tabled in the Lok Sabha at 11 am by the then Finance Minister Yashwant Sinha.

In contrast, the practice of tabling the Union Budget in Lok Sabha had been at 5 pm in the evening since independence.

Moreover, the tradition was budget used to be presented on the last working day of February, therefore, the Union Budget was presented on Feb 28 till the year 2016.


January 1999: The then Finance Minister Yashwant Sinha and Finance Secretary Vijay Kelkar and senior Finance Ministry official D Swarup (who was part of the budget-making team for long years) decided to change this pre-independence practice of tabling Union Budget in the evening at 5 pm.

Reason Cited For Change: Since the budget presentation will shift to before noon hours, the rationale of the then budget-making team was it will give an opportunity to all economists, commerce bodies and economic institutes to undertake a better analysis of the budget numbers.

Post the decision taken in the Finance ministry, then FM Yashwant Sinha requested the Lok Sabha speaker, Rajya Sabha Vice – Chairman and then PM Atal Behari Vajpayee to allow him to present the budget at 11 am against the customary presentation at 5 pm in the evening.

The request was noted and finally, Yashwant Sinha became the first Finance Minister to present the Union Budget at 11 am on Feb 27 (the last working day of Feb).


Presentation of the budget in the evening was a tradition started in the British Raj.

During the British regime, since the members of Britain's Parliament - 'House of Commons' and 'House of Lords' - listen to India's budget, the budget speech was used to deliver at five in the evening.

THE BIG REASON: It is due to the time zone gap between New Delhi and Westminster, UK.

Since the Indian Standard Time is 5 hrs 30 minutes ahead of the Greenwich Meridian Time, when the clock in India struck the 5 hours in the evening, the Britain clock will show 11 am daytime.

As the MPs in the British Parliament will listen to the budget delivery in Indian Parliament, therefore the time was fixed at 5 pm in the evening.

ANOTHER FACT: It is said that as equity markets in Britain used to open at 11 am (British Standard Time), so the budget in India was presented in the evening.

But the tradition continued even after independence in India, despite no such compulsions.

BOTTOMLINE: Since the Union budget and budget in many State Assemblies are being presented now at 11 am, Odisha can also change its budget presentation time.

However, as per highly placed sources in Assembly Secretariat, there is no unanimity between the political parties in the State. A proposal to this effect in 1999 was rejected by the ruling party then.

“In the later years, the BJD government, despite in the NDA, didn’t work hard to have a consensus on changing this customary timing of budget presentation in Odisha. Now, no political party, except BJP, is in favour of changing the budget presentation timing in the State,” said the sources.