‘Leather not auspicious’: Nirmala Sitharaman drops briefcase for bahi khata
When Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman walked out of her North Block Ministry in Delhi’s Raisina Hills on Friday to present her first Union Budget one could not help but notice that the iconic briefcase was missing.
Making a departure from the norm, Sitharaman opted for a red folder with national emblem, the Ashoka Chakra, on the front tied together with a string. (Follow budget live updates here)
“Sitharaman believes that leather made products are not auspicious for the big occasion, so she avoided the leather bag and took the bahi khata wrapped in the red cloth. This is considered to be auspicious. Also, ditching the briefcase symbolises our departure from the slavery of western thought, ” Chief Economic Advisor Krishnamurthy Subramanian was quoted as saying by ANI.
Bahi Khata is a traditional ledger maintained by businesses to record their transactions.
For years, finance minister and their deep maroon or brown briefcases holding budget papers were a common sight. In fact, year after year budget days saw ministers holding up their briefcases and posing for pictures with their team.
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On Friday, Sitharaman was seen holding the folder in her right hand and posing with minister of state for finance Anurag Thakur, finance secretary S.C. Garg, revenue secretary Ajay Bhushan Pandey, other secretaries of the ministry and officials.
The Budget will be presented in the Lok Sabha at 11AM.
Sitharaman is presenting her maiden budget of Friday and is expected to offer tax sops and announce big push for the social sector.
In 1970, former Prime Minister Indira Gandhi became the first woman to have delivered Union Budget . But hers was a role in addition to being the country’s Prime Minister.