We have arrived at the time of year when Indian Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman and her colleagues must perform a delicate balancing act in order to meet the budget’s many objectives.
Due to the prolonged pandemic, this budget is tougher than most, but recent strong tax revenues have given it some leeway.
Despite everything, it must ensure that economic growth is maintained, that social sector spending does not decrease and that all this is done without jeopardizing budgetary responsibility.
Finance ministers are considered to hold the most powerful positions in the world.
In India, many of these ministers have become prime ministers (PMs) or even presidents of the country.
Jawaharlal Lal Nehru, Indira and Rajiv Gandhi all presented the budget when they were Prime Minister of India.
Jawaharlal Nehru (Minister of Finance and Prime Minister)
Starting as the country’s first Prime Minister, Jawaharlal Nehru served as India’s first Prime Minister from 1947 to 1964, and was the second person to propose the Union Budget (after Shanmukham Chetty), while occupying the post of Ministry of Finance during the financial year 1958-59.
Morarji Desai (Minister of Finance to the Prime Minister)
Ten times Minister of Finance, Morarji Desai holds the record for the most budgets in the Union.
After Jawaharlal Nehru, Desai served as Minister of Finance from March 13, 1958 to August 29, 1963, then again from March 13, 1967 to July 16, 1969 after Indira Gandhi.
Between March 24, 1977 and July 28, 1979, Desai served as the fourth Prime Minister of India.
Indira Gandhi, Nehru’s daughter, was the first and only woman to serve as prime minister twice, from 1966 to 1977 and from 1980 to 1984.
From July 16, 1969 to June 27, 1970, she was also in charge of the Ministry of Finance.
Similarly, when he was Prime Minister of India, Charan Singh served as finance minister but did not submit the budget.
Similarly, Charan Singh served as Finance Minister of India (for a brief period between January and July 1979) before becoming Prime Minister from July 1979 to January 1980.
Rajiv Gandhi, the son of Indira Gandhi, served as Prime Minister from 1984 to 1989 and presented the Union budget in 1987-88, during which time he introduced corporation tax. He was also Minister of Finance.
Manmohan Singh served as India’s finance minister from 1991 to 1996 and played a key role in liberalizing the economy and abolishing the raj license system.
From 1982 to 1985, he served as Governor of the Reserve Bank of India.
From 1998 to 2014, he was Prime Minister of the United Progressive Alliance (UPA), succeeding Atal Bihari Vajpayee (formerly Narendra Modi).
Vice President Singh
Vishwanath Pratap Singh served as Minister of Finance of India from December 1984 to January 1, 1987, then Prime Minister from December 2, 1989 to November 10, 1990.
Venkataraman served as finance minister from January 14, 1980 to January 15, 1982, during which time he presented the budget three times.
From August 31, 1984 to July 24, 1987, he was vice-president, then president from July 25, 1987 to July 25, 1992.
Pranab Mukherjee, like Venkataram, was finance minister before assuming the presidency as India’s 13th president in July 2012.
From 1982 to 1984, he was Minister of Finance, then from 2009 to 2012.
He delivered the budget seven times, with Yashwant Sinha for third place, after P. Chidambaram and Morarji Desai.
(With agency contributions)