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Budget 2021: Remembering Indira Gandhi, the first woman Finance Minister

Budget 2021 news: Indira Gandhi presented the Union Budget 1970-71 before she appointed Chavan as the Finance Minister

twitter-logoBusinessToday.In | February 1, 2021 | Updated 11:29 IST
Budget 2021: Remembering Indira Gandhi, the first woman Finance Minister
Former Prime Minister of India, Indira Gandhi was also the first woman Finance Minister of India

Union Budget 2021 -22: Former Prime Minister of India, Indira Gandhi was also the first woman Finance Minister of India. She held this portfolio from 1970-71 following Morarji Desai's resignation.  She held the additional Finance Minister portfolio for a year before she could hand it over to her Home Minister, Yashwantrao Chavan.

Indira Gandhi presented the Union Budget 1970-71 before she appointed Chavan as the Finance Minister. Her first and only Budget speech became famous due to a slew of anti-poverty programmes in keeping with the iconic 'Garibi Hatao' slogan, and her jibe at smokers.

Also read: Budget 2021: Date, speech time, sector-wise expectations; everything you need to know

Gandhi expounded on the need for anti-poverty programmes that pushed India from being a revenue surplus economy to a revenue deficit one and said, "It is generally accepted that social, economic and political stability is not possible without the growth of productive forces and the augmentation of national wealth. Also, that such growth and increase in wealth cannot be sustained without due regard to the welfare of the weaker sections of the community. Therefore, it is necessary to devise policies which reconcile the imperatives of growth with concern for the well-being of the needy and the poor. Measures have to be devised which, while providing welfare, also add momentum to productive forces."

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In her Budget 1970-71 speech, she apologised for touching the "smoker's pocket" and said, "I am sorry that the smoker's pocket has to be touched once again. The duty on cigarettes is being enhanced with the increase ranging from 3 per cent to 22 per cent ad valorem depending on value slabs. The cheaper varieties of cigarettes will go up by only one or two paise per packet of 10 cigarettes." She used sarcasm, saying , "Assuming that the smoking community remains steadfast in its devotion, the additional revenue from this measure will be Rs 13.50 crore."

Before Sitharaman, Manmohan Singh (1991-1996), Yashwant Sinha (1998-2003), Jaswant Singh (2003-2004), P Chidambaram (1996-1998, 2004-2009, 2013-2014), Pranab Mukherjee (2009-2013) and Arun Jaitley (2014-2019) had presented a total of 28 budgets. After liberalisation, Chidambaram presented 8 budgets, Manmohan Singh, Yashwant Sinha and Arun Jaitley presented 5 budgets each whereas Pranab Mukherjee presented 4 budgets and Jaswant Singh presented only 1 budget.

Also read: Budget 2021 Highlights: Tax exemption limit under section 80C may be raised to Rs 2 lakh

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