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A look at first Budgets of new governments in India in the past

July 16, 2014

The first budgets of new governments are often closely scrutinised to get a sense of their priorities. Indeed, in the history of independent India, the first budget has often set the tone for important policy initiatives. We take a look at some first budgets of new governments.

Covered the period from August 15, 1947 to March 31, 1948
Finance Minister: R.K. Shanmukham Chetty

Presented in November 1947, it was the first budget of independent India. Chetty coined the term interim budget in his budget speech. The Budget was a review of the economy and did not propose any new tax. "For the present both the Dominions (India and Pakistan) will continue the existing taxes and duties, there will be a free movement of trade between them..." said Chetty.

The first budget of the Janata Party government
FM: H.M.Patel

"Our party's social and economic programme lays heavy emphasis on rural development ... (and) eradication of unemployment" said Patel.

Major initiative

>> Focus on austerity by mobilising public opinion against a lifestyle inconsistent with the economic realities of India.

The first budget of the Indira Gandhi government after returning to power
FM: R. Venkataraman

"The most important and disconcerting fact about the Indian economy is that the gross national product declined in 1979/80 by about three per cent." said Venkataraman

Major initiative

>> National Rural Employment Programme was launched to revitalise the rural economy.

The first, and only Budget of the V.P. Singh-led National Front government.
FM: Madhu Dandavate

"We will come down with a heavy hand on those who give vent to their pomp and money power, by circumventing our laws and frittering away the scarce resources of the nation," said Dandavate.

Major initiative

>> A Cabinet Committee on Prices was formed and steps taken to improve the supply of essential commodities.

The first Budget of the BJP-led government
FM: Yashwant Sinha

>> State-run banks' mounting Non-Performing Assets (NPAs) raised concern. The Budget proposed setting up asset reconstruction companies and more debt recovery tribunals.
>> The plan outlay for key infrastructure sectors of energy, transport and communications was substantially increased.

The first budget of the Congress-led United Progressive Alliance
FM: P. Chidambaram

"The economic fundamentals appear strong and the balance of payments is robust," said Chidambaram in his Budget speech.

Major initiative

>> The budget announced a slew of welfare schemes
>> FDI hiked in telecom from 49 to 74 per cent and in civil aviation from 40 to 49 per cent.


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