When preparing to present her first budget in 2019, Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman caused a stir when she carried the budget documents in a red pouch (bahi khata). By opting for the bahi khata, Sitharaman marked an end to the decades-long practice of carrying the budget documents in a briefcase, a practice that came from the colonial era.
On Monday, as she prepared to present her third budget, Sitharaman marked an even bigger break from the past. Sitharaman was seen holding an electronic tablet from which she would present the budget. The tablet was carried inside a red case with the emblem of the government of India. Some reports said the device was made in India.
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This will be the first 'paperless' budget since Independence. Earlier this month, the Lok Sabha Secretariat had said the budget documents and the Economic Survey would be made available online after the authenticated copies were laid on the Table of the House.
The decision to do away with printing of budget papers was attributed to the need to have many people present at the Finance ministry's printing press at North Block amid worries of COVID-19.