From Suits To Traditional Attires, How Fashion Of Union Budget Presenters Evolved Over Years


Since its inception in the 19th century, the Indian budget has gone through massive evolvement and so has the style of personalities presenting it. Starting from Scottish Economist and politician, James Wilson who presented India’s first Budget in 1860 sporting typical Victorian attire to the incumbent finance minister Nirmala Sitharaman, it has been quite a journey for the style quotient for the budget. The style changes not only depict the change of time but also capture India’s journey from being a colony of Britishers to becoming a sovereign country that’s proud of its culture and origin.

Here, we take a look at some of the interesting style choices made by personalities presenting the Indian budget over years:

James Wilson

Sporting a typical Victorian attire, Wilson presented the budget wearing a suit and a hat accessorized with a fob chain linked to a watch in his waistcoat pocket.

RK Shanmukham Chetty

Independent India’s first union budget was presented on November 26, 1947, by then Finance Minister RK Shanmukham Chetty wearing a dark pinstripe suit with a white shirt and a tie. Completing this look was Chetty’s neatly brushed side-parted hairstyle and round rimless spectacle.

Morarji Desai

(Image: Moneycontrol)

Several finance ministers in the following years chose to present the budget dressed in a suit until Morarji Desai, who in 1968 not just presented a “People’s Budget” but also dressed like a common man. The suit was replaced by Desai’s white Gandhi cap, and an austere bandh gala suit. He went on to present a total of 10 budgets- most by any finance minister in India.

Indira Gandhi

India’s Prime Minister Indira Gandhi, who was also the finance minister in the year 1970-71, presented the budget draped in a simple silk saree and a grey shawl.

Manmohan Singh

(Photo: Reuters)

In 1991, Manmohan Singh present what went on to become one of the most crucial budgets of Indian democratic history. The budget opening doors of liberalisation in the Indian market may have been complex but Singh’s style surely was not. He presented the budget wearing a beige bandhgala and turban, with his signature glasses.

P Chidambaram

(Photo: Reuters)

Away from the suits, bandhgalas, former finance minister P Chidambaram always chose to wear traditional white veshti and white cotton shirts on important occasions. And that’s what he wore while presenting his first Budget in 1997. Chidambaram went on to present 8 more budgets changing government policies and allocation but what did not change was his signature white attire.

Arun Jaitely

(Photo: AP)

If there was one finance minister who experimented with his attire while presenting the budget, it was Arun Jaitley. He presented the budget wearing a kurta-pyjama, shirt trouser but one thing remained constant all over the years – his Nehru Jacket.

Nirmala Sitharaman

(Image: Reuters)

Nirmala Sitharam chose to present the budget in traditional pattern silk Pochampally saree this year. The sarees are traditionally made in Bhoodan Pochampally, in Telangana, which is also known as the silk city of India.

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