With an aim to create a paperless budget, taken into consideration the new normal, for the first time, Union Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman, has replaced the traditional ‘bahi khata’ with a ‘Made in India’ tablet, to present the Budget 2021.
Amid digitisation, the aim was to break away from the traditional practice of carrying a brown briefcase of papers — a ledger wrapped in red cloth — while presenting the budget for this year. The move has been taken in line with Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s ambitious “Digital India” mission and creating an Aatmanirbhar Bharat.
Considering no budget papers were printed this year, in the wake of COVID pandemic, Sitharaman leveraged this newly created tablet that has been developed in India. As a matter of fact, earlier this month, it was announced by the finance minister that this year’s budget will be “like never before.”
Although the make and the model of the Android tablet haven’t been disclosed as of yet, it indeed made its position in this year’s budget announcement. Along with this, earlier this year, the government of India has also launched the ‘Union Budget Mobile App’ that will enable easy hassle-free access to budget documents digitally for all stakeholders, MPs, media organisations and the general public. Developed by the National Informatics Centre (NIC) and the Department of Economic Affairs (DEA), the mobile app will facilitate access of 14 union budget documents, including financial statements, bills, and demand for grants, in Hindi and English. The users will be able to download these documents and contents of the app for their perusal.
Such initiatives of creating a paperless budget showcase the country’s digital ambitions as well as display the country’s progress towards creating more ‘Make in India’ products and a step towards a cleaner environment.
The budget has come at a critical time when the country is enormously struggling with COVID repercussions. With this budget, Sitharaman is expected to boost the Indian economy that has seen a significant downturn due to the pandemic and the subsequent lockdown. Though the Indian economy’s situation has drastically strengthened since March 2020, economists and experts believe that the government will have to put much more effort and increase their budget for a quick recovery.
The application — Union Budget Mobile App — can be downloaded from the Union Budget Web Portal.