Union Budget: Will FM Nirmala Sitharaman will continue the unwritten custom of presenting Budget?

Nirmala Sitharaman

Nirmala Sitharaman 


Union Budget 2021: Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman will table Union Budget 2021-22 in the Lok Sabha on Monday, February 1, 2021.

Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman will table Union Budget 2021-22 in the Lok Sabha on Monday, February 1, 2021. It is expected that she will bring reforms that will give fuel to the economy that was hit by an invisible enemy, COVID-19, which led to lockdown, shutdowns and joblessness. But before the Union Budget is presented in the Parliament it is necessary to know about an unwritten custom associated with the budget presentation and will the finance minister will continue with it or not, although, she managed to continue with the tradition last year when Union Budget 2020-21 was presented.

The tradition is associated with an event in which poems and couplets are used to lighten the mood of and give some life to the dry budget session live. The tradition was first started by the former Prime Minister Dr Manmohan Singh in 1990s when he was serving the country as its Finance Minister. Dr Manmohan Singh while presenting the Union Budget 1991-92 in the capacity of the Finance Minister used a couplet that read, "Yunnan-o-Misr-o-Rom sab mit gaye jahaan say. Ab tak magar hai baaki, naam-o-nishan hamara". This means - Old civilisations of Greece, Egypt and Rome have vanished from the earth. There is some reason that our civilisation is still alive. This is the year when the unwritten custom was started.

Interestingly, the tradition has continued to date. And I expect that the tradition will be continued this year as well. Hopefully, there will be something that relates to humanity and tells how the pandemic, COVID-19, had impacted society as a whole.

Below are some quotes/couplets from previous Budget speeches:

Nirmala Sitharaman (Union Budget 2020-21): The Finance Minister last year used few verses in Kashmiri to describe India as Shalimar Garden - "Humara watan khilte hue Shalimar bagh jaise, humara watan Dal lake mein khilte hue kamal jaisa, nau jawanon ke garam khoon jaisa, mera watan tera watan, humara watan, duniya ka sabse pyara watan". This means, the country is like a Shalimar garden, it is like a lotus on Dal Lake, like the warm blood of our youth and it is our best country in the world. She added that India is now the fifth-biggest economy in the world.

Nirmala Sitharaman (2019-20): While presenting the Budget she quoted couplets by Chankaya and late Urdu poet Manzoor Hashmi. The couplet from Hashmi read, "Yaqin ho to koi rasta nikalta hai, hava ki ot bhi le kar chirag jalta hai". This means - if there is belief then a road ahead will open up, sheltered from the winds the lamp will burn brightly." Sutra that was quoted from Chanakya read, "Kaarya purusha kare na lakshyam sampa dayate". This means - If we have determined efforts, the task will surely be completed.

Piyush Goyal (Interim Budget 2019-20): He quoted a couplet translated from Marathi poem, "Ek paanv rakhta hoon, Hazarein Rahein Phoot Padeti Hai". It means - Every step we take opens up a thousand new paths forward.

Late Arun Jaitley (2018-19): He used a verse from 'Memoirs of European Travel' by Swami Vivekananda and it read, "You merge yourselves in the void and disappear, and let new India arise in your place. Let her arise – out of the peasants' cottage, grasping the plough; out of the huts of the fisherman. Let her spring from the grocer's shop, from beside the oven of the fritter-seller. Let her emanate from the factory, from marts, and from markets. Let her emerge from groves and forests, from hills and mountains''. The verse was used with a hope to create a 'New India'.

Late Arun Jaitley (2017-18): "Hum Agey Agey Chalte Hai, Ayie Aap". It means - We are ahead of you, please follow us.

Late Arun Jaitley (2016-17): He used a couplet that read "Kashti chalaane walon ne jab haar kar di patwar hamein, lehar lehar toofan mile aur, mauj mauj manjdhaar hamein. Phir bhi dikhaya hei hamane aur phir yeh dikha denge sabko, in halato mein aata hai daria karna paar hame". It means - When the exhausted sailors handed the boat's oar in our hands, we were surrounded by storms and rapids. But we successfully showed around and will keep on showing as we know how to cross the river in such conditions.

Late Arun Jaitley (2015-16): He used a couplet that read ,"Kuchh to gul khilaye hain, kuchh abhi khilaane hain, par baagh mein ab bhi kaante kuchh puraane hain". It means - We have made few flowers to bloom and others will bloom soon, but at present, the garden is full of several old thrones.

P Chidambaram (2013-14): The former finance minister used a couplet from Thirukural, a classic Tamil text, "Kalangathu kanda vinaikkan thulangkathu thookkang kadinthu seyal". It means - What clearly eye discerns as right, with a steadfast will and mind unslumbering, that should man fulfil.

Pranab Mukherjee (2012-13): This was the last Budget Speech by the former President when he was serving India as its Finance Minister. He quoted Hamlet, "The prince of Denmark while talking about the tough policy decisions he had to take for the good of the economy in the long run. I must be cruel only to be kind."

Pranab Mukherjee (2009-10): He used a verse from Arthashastra, which reads, "In the interest of the prosperity of the country, a king shall be diligent in foreseeing the possibility of calamities, try to avert them before they arise, overcome those which happen, remove all obstructions to economic activity and prevent loss of revenue to the state".

Yashwant Sinha (2004-05): He said a verse, "Garib ke pet mein dana, Grihini ki tukia mein anna". This means, "Food in the belly of poor and money in the purse of the housewife.

Yashwant Sinha (2001-02): He said, "Taqaazaa hai waqt kaa ke toofaan se joojho, kahaan tak chaloge kinaare kinaare". This means - it is a time to fight the storms, how long you will keep walking at the corners.

Manmohan Singh (1992-93): This is the second time when Dr MAnmohan Singh used a couplet while presenting the Union Budget. He said, "Kuchh aise bhee manzar hain taareekh ki nazron mein, Lamhon ne khataa ki thi, sadiyon ne sazaa paayee." This means - there are dates in history that say mistakes made at some point of time create trouble for centuries.

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