11.05 pm: Former NITI Aayog Vice Chairman Arvind Panagariya called the Budget “extremely pragmatic” especially for being a “pre-poll” one, according to PTI. “Reflecting the timing, the focus is on rural and agricultural economy but no populist schemes that are inconsistent with the country’s long-term interest have been launched,” Panagariya said.

He added that the proposal to cover 100 million families for expenses up to Rs 5,00,000 for in-patient care “is perhaps the most significant programme” that was announced on Thursday. “It brings us much closer to universal health coverage,” he said.

9.40 pm: NITI Aayog’s Chief Executive Officer Amitabh Kant says the Budget is transformational, especially for the social and agriculture sectors, and is a forward-looking budget. The finance minister has put “resources into hands of agriculture sector and MSMEs”, he says. “He focused very strongly on education and health.”

8.45 pm: The Telegu Desam Party, an important BJP ally, is unhappy since Andhra Pradesh was not allocated money for many key projects, reports News 18. Chief Minister N Chandrababu Naidu has called an emergency Cabinet meeting in Amaravati on February 4 to discuss the matter.

8.40 pm: The Bharatiya Mazdoor Sangh, one of the largest central trade unions in India, announces it will organise nationwide demonstrations against the Budget on Friday. “Even though today’s budget for the first time has given more thrust to rural development, agriculture, health, infrastructure etc, it has totally neglected the woes of labour,” says the organisation’s General Secretary Virjesh Upadhyay.

7.45 pm: Congress leader Shashi Tharoor says that while the proposed healthcare scheme for 50 crore people was a good move, the Budget figures showed that there was no proper allocation for it.

“On the whole, a disappointing Budget,” Tharoor points out. “Nothing for the aam aadmi [common man], no tax cut for the middle class, no incentives to create jobs, no investment stimulus. Silence on disaster relief for Cyclone Ockhi and the defence budget. No minimum selling price for rabi farmers, and no additional funds for the Mahatma Gandhi National Rural Employment Guarantee Scheme.”

7.33 pm: Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal says that there is nothing in the Budget for the middle class and traders, who have been “ignored”.

Aam Aadmi Party leader Sanjay Singh calls it a “pakoda Budget”, and a mockery of the people of India. “A government which finishes its term in 2019 is trying to sell dreams about India in 2022,” he adds. AAP leader Gopal Rai says there are no benefits for the Micro, Medium and Small Enterprises in the Budget.

7.25 pm: Madhya Pradesh Chief Minister Shivraj Singh Chouhan says that the National Health Protection Scheme was “revolutionary”. “Almost 50 crore people, 40% of the population will be benefited by this scheme.”

6.21 pm: Minister for Petroleum and Natural Gas Dharmendra Pradhan accuses former Finance Minister P Chidambaram of making India’s economy bankrupt. “Banks were in a bad state and resources were handed over to the rich. The prime minister is giving transparent, policy-based administration,” ANI quotes Pradhan as saying.

6.12 pm: West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee describes the Union Budget as an “anti-common man” programme. “They [the government] have done nothing to control rising fuel price,” Banerjee says.

5.44 pm: The government allocates a total of Rs 1,425 crore towards sports in its 2018-19 budget, including Rs 575 crore for its Khelo India programme. The Budget, however, makes no mention of funds to promote sports among the differently abled.

5.36 pm: Telugu Desam Party MP RM Naidu echoes his party colleague and minister of state for science and technology YS Chowdar’s view about the budget’s provisions for Andhra Pradesh. “One of the major issues was special status,” Naidu says. “If you take states like Telangana and Tamil Nadu, they have a huge budget. Andhra Pradesh, however, has a deficit budget. People feel cheated.”

5.16 pm: Congress President Rahul Gandhi takes to Twitter to criticise the Bharatiya Janata Party’s rule. The government has not delivered on its promises to ensure a fair price to farmers for their crops or improving the unemployment situation, Gandhi says.

5.16 pm: Defence Minister Nirmala Sitharaman says she is grateful to the prime minister and finance minister for the 7.9% increase in the defence budget. The first defence corridor will be built to link Chennai and Bengaluru, says Sitharaman.

5.05 pm: Here’s how politicians have reacted to the Budget.

4.51 pm: The Finance Ministry’s press conference ends.

4.50 pm: There is no change in final prices of petrol and diesel for the consumer, says Revenue Secretary Hasmukh Adhia. The Rs 2 excise duty on petrol and diesel is being reduced and converted into cess, and this is the only change we have made, Adhia says.

4.49 pm: Chidambaram says he did not see any measures to boost exports, as the “government has run out of ideas”. “The PM’s speech at and the spirit of Davos has been forgotten within a few days,” the Congress leader says.

4.41 pm: Meanwhile, former Finance Minister P Chidambaram addresses his own press conference about the Budget. He says the stress in the farm sector will continue, and calls the healthcare scheme a “big jumla [gimmick]”. “Is the FM serious?” he asks.

4.32 pm: The healthcare model will replace the Rashtriya Swasthya Bima Yojna, and will be a cashless programme, says Expenditure Secretary AN Jha.

4.25 pm: Shortfall of GST collections in absolute terms is about Rs 50,000 crore, says Revenue Secretary Hasmukh Adhia.

4.23 pm: With every Budget, I have been putting surplus money in the hands of the middle-class taxpayer, says Arun Jaitley.

4.20 pm: No one predicted such a rise in oil prices, there is a certain range that keeps us comfortable, says Jaitley. He says we are on the verge of that threshold right now, and we are about to reach the stage where it will have consequences.

He did not answer whether the government had allocated any budget to counter any oil price shock.

4.17 pm: In the Finance Bill, there is a mechanism on fixing emoluments from April 1, says Jaitley. MPs are the only class that sets its salaries for itself, and there was criticism against this, he says. The bill includes an institutional mechanism that will come into effect in five years, wherein the salaries of MPs will change taking inflation into account.

4.13 pm: Agriculture and rural economy have been given high priority, says Jaitley. “A social security net has to be created, and we need resources for this.”

4.11 pm: The Finance Ministry, led by Arun Jaitley, addresses a press conference. Chief Economic Adviser Arvind Subramanian is also present.

4.06 pm: The Telugu Desam Party, an ally of the BJP at the Centre, says it is “disappointed” with the Budget. YS Chowdary, the minister of state for science and technology, says the Budget did not address issues such as the funding for the Capital city of Amravati for Andhra Pradesh.

3.56 pm: Latest stories and analyses on Scroll.in about the 2018-’19 Budget:

  • MSPs, ModiCare and Hinglish: Jaitley’s Budget speech tries to shore up Modi’s rural credentials
  • Centre will crack down on cryptocurrency, says Arun Jaitley in Budget speech
  • Arun Jaitley announces Gobar Dhan scheme for managing cattle dung  
  • ‘Farmer-friendly, development-friendly’: Narendra Modi praises Budget 2018
  • Arun Jaitley pegs fiscal deficit at 3.3% of GDP, after breaching 2017-’18 target
  • Centre leaves income tax unchanged, introduces Standard Deduction for salaried class
  • Government raises minimum support price of majority of crops by 1.5 times
  • Rs 5 lakh allocated per family under ‘world’s largest state-funded health programme’

3.41 pm: The Centre has presented an “election Budget”, and it had to take “desperate measures”, the Shiv Sena says, according to PTI. “This is a budget for the election,” says Shiv Sena MP Arvind Sawant. “Hence, the focus has been shifted from industries to farmers, healthcare and education.”

3.36 pm: The BSE Sensex falls again, and ends the day 58.36 points down, at 35,906.66. The Nifty 50 ends 10.8 points lower, at 11,016.90 points. Both indices had declined during the Budget speech but recovered soon after it ended, until the last hour of trade.

3.32 pm: Congress spokesperson Randeep Singh Surjewala says the growth of the agriculture sector has slowed to 1.9% since 2014-’15. “Modiji, at this pace, the incomes of farmers will double by the year 2052,” he tweets. “Why are you playing this cruel joke with farmers?”

3.20 pm: Jaitley says Budget reflects the “political conviction and mood of the leader of the nation, and Narendra Modi is not here for momentary populism”. The schemes in the healthcare and farm sectors are for social impact, and are part of Modi’s “social philosophy, not populism”, he says.

3.13 pm: Air India will be a major player in providing access to air travel to the common man, Jaitley says, adding that he hopes the divestment plan will progress soon.

3.04 pm: We consciously increased customs duty, says Jaitley in post-Budget interview. The “Make in India” model is doing well, and there is a need to protect the domestic sector, he says.

2.59 pm: When asked about rising crude oil prices, Finance Minister Arun Jaitley says the government is bearing the costs for now.

The Economic Survey 2018 had warned against the persistently high oil prices and their effects on the growth of the Indian economy, the fiscal deficit and inflation.

2.52 pm: “Our services sector has been doing well, and manufacturing sector has improved,” Jaitley tells DD News in an interview. “So, we should use our resources to boost weaker sectors, such as agriculture. This Budget sets a precedent and will force future governments to give priority to farmers.”

“Obamacare may not have succeeded in the United States, but we can make Modicare successful,” Jaitley says.

2.30 pm: Former Prime Minister Manmohan Singh tells The Indian Express: “I don’t think I can blame the Budget for being motivated by scoring points in elections, but fiscal arithmetic is at fault.”

He says the Budget was “high on projecting a bright picture”, but he has a question: “how will that be sustained?”

2.22 pm: Latest stories and analyses on Scroll.in about the 2018-’19 Budget:

  • Centre will crack down on cryptocurrency, says Arun Jaitley in Budget speech
  • Arun Jaitley announces Gobar Dhan scheme for managing cattle dung  
  • ‘Farmer-friendly, development-friendly’: Narendra Modi praises Budget 2018
  • Arun Jaitley pegs fiscal deficit at 3.3% of GDP, after breaching 2017-’18 target
  • Centre leaves income tax unchanged, introduces Standard Deduction for salaried class
  • Government raises minimum support price of majority of crops by 1.5 times
  • Rs 5 lakh allocated per family under ‘world’s largest state-funded health programme’

2.17 pm: Delhi Deputy Chief Minister Manish Sisodia says the Budget has no plans or schemes to tackle crime against women in the national Capital. He tweets that he had “personally requested” a special package for 2,000 electric buses for the city to tackle air pollution. “Unfortunately, BJP government does not care for Delhi,” Sisodia says, accusing the Centre of treating Delhiites as “second-grade citizens”.

2.01 pm: CPI(M) Secretary General Sitaram Yechury calls the Budget a “textbook exercise in post-truth”. The Budget “abandons state responsibilities towards health and education” and “burdens people mercilessly by hiking cess”, he says on Twitter.

2 pm: Union minister Nitin Gadkari calls the Budget “historic”, citing the medical insurance scheme that aims to reach 10 crore families.

1.57 pm: The share indices continue to gain further after the speech ended. The BSE Sensex is now 241.29 points higher than Wednesday’s close, at 36,206.31, and the Nifty 50 has risen 60.75 points to 11,088.45. Both indices are now again over 0.5% up, and are close to the pre-Budget highs in early trade on Thursday.

1.55 pm: The government tried to improve the situation for farmers, but their problems are enormous, and the measures may not be sufficient, says former Prime Minister HD Deve Gowda.

1.53 pm: Maharashtra Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis hails the Modi government for the “world’s largest” healthcare scheme – says “yet another history created”:

1.49 pm: The government will announce strong steps to solve the problem of non-performing assets and stressed accounts in the MSME sector, so that “small business owners do not suffer because of the mistakes of someone else”, Prime Minister Modi says in his post-Budget comments.

1.41 pm: From Jaitley’s speech

1.31 pm: Prime Minister Narendra Modi says the Budget has addressed the concerns of the poor as well as the middle class, and brings new opportunities to rural India. This Budget “strengthens the hopes and aspirations of all Indians, and will accelerate development”, he says in his first comments after Jaitley’s Budget speech.

Modi calls the Budget “farmer-friendly, business-friendly, development-friendly and common man-friendly”. The Budget has focused on “ease of living” as well as “ease of doing business”, the prime minister says.

1.29 pm: Bihar Chief Minister Nitish Kumar “congratulates” the government for the Budget, calls the health protection scheme a “huge initiative”.

1.28 pm: The share markets recovered and trade higher than the previous close. The BSE Sensex is at 36,058.25 points, up 93.23, and the Nifty 50 has gained 32.45 points to reach 11,060.15.

1.25 pm: More highlights

1.22 pm: The finance minister has failed the fiscal consolidation test, and this failure will have serious consequences, former Finance Minister P Chidambaram tells PTI.

1.18 pm: The government has attempted to “pay lip service to farmers and to other marginalised sections of society, but it is a classical case of too less and completely at the inappropriate time”, Congress leader Manish Tewari tells ANI.

1.15 pm: Highlights

12.59 pm: The BSE Sensex falls over 300 points from its highest point in the day. It is now at 35,815.21, over 149 points down since previous close. The Nifty 50 is down 44.55 points at 10,983.15. Both indices were up over 0.5% before Jaitley began his speech.

12.51 pm: Lok Sabha Speaker Sumitra Mahajan adjourns the House till February 5.

12.49 pm: Finance Minister Jaitley ends his Budget speech.

12.44 pm: After implementation of GST, Central Board of Excise and Customs to now be renamed Central Board of Indirect Taxes and Customs, says Jaitley.

12.37 pm: There is a strong case to bring long-term capital gains under the tax net, says the finance minister. Gains over Rs 1 lakh will be taxed at 10%.

12.34 pm: In assessment year 2016-’17, 1.89 crore salaried individuals filed returns amounting to Rs 1.44 lakh crore, says Jaitley.

12.33 pm: No changes to the tax structure for salaried individuals, says Jaitley. Announces standard deduction of Rs 40,000 for salaried employees for transport and medical expenses.

12.30 pm: Corporate tax of 25% will be extended to companies with turnover of up to Rs 250 crore in 2016-’17, Jaitley says, adding that this will benefit all MSMEs, which account for 99% of companies that file tax returns. This will help create jobs as well, he says.

12.28 pm: Direct tax collections rose 12.6% last year and 18.7% up to January 15, says the finance minister. Taxpayer base rose from 6.47 crore in 2014-’15 to 8.27 crore in 2016-’17.

12.23 pm: The fiscal deficit for 2017-’18 is set to breach the target of 3.2% set last year, and will be 3.5%, says Jaitley.

12.20 pm: Jaitley proposes a fiscal deficit target of 3.3% of GDP for 2018-’19. The target he had set for 2018-’19 last year was 3%.

12.19 pm: Jaitley proposes a law to facilitate automatic revision of emoluments for MPs every five years based on inflation.

12.17 pm: Salary of the president to be raised to Rs 5 lakh, Rs 4 lakh for the vice president and Rs 3.5 lakh for governors, says Jaitley.

12.15 pm: The government will soon announce a scheme to address the issue of non- performing assets, says Finance Minister Jaitley.

12.15 pm: Disinvestment target for 2018-’19 is Rs 80,000 crore, says Jaitley

12.13 pm: “Government will take all steps to eliminate the use of cryptocurrencies which are being used to fund illegitimate transactions,” Jaitley says. Niti Aayog will establish a national programme to direct efforts towards artificial intelligence, including research and development of its applications.

12.11 pm: The finance minister proposes two defence industrial corridors in the country to promote domestic production in both public and private sectors.

12.07 pm: Jaitley says 1 lakh gram panchayats have been connected to high-speed broadband. Allocates Rs 10,000 crore to set up 5 lakh Wi-Fi hotspots to provide broadband access to 5 crore rural citizens.

12.05 pm: Jaitley announces Rs 1,48,528 crore capital expenditure for Indian Railways for 2018-’19.

12.04 pm: The low-cost air connectivity scheme, UDAN, will connect 56 unserved airports and 31 unserved helipads, says the finance minister, adding that operations at 16 such airports have already started.

12.03 pm: Bengaluru will get a suburban train network, Jaitley says.

12.02 pm: The finance minister proposes use of technology for train protection and warning system. Will eliminate unmanned crossing in the broad gauge system, Jaitley says. The Mumbai transport system is being expanded with 90 km of double line track at an allocation of Rs 11,000 crore, he says.

12.00 pm: Highlights so far

11.56 am: Ten tourist sites will be developed into iconic tourist destinations, Jaitley says, adding that 110 model monuments of the Archaeological Survey of India will be upgraded.

11.54 am: The finance minister says the contribution of women workers to EPF will be reduced to 8% in the first three years.

11.52 am: Jaitley says the government will contribute 12% of the EPF of new employees for all sectors in next three years.

11.48 am: Jaitley says 10.38 crore Mudra loans have been given so far under the Prime Minister Mudra Loan Yojana. 76% of these loan accounts belong to women and over half to scheduled castes and scheduled tribes. The government proposes an allocation of Rs 3 lakh crore for lending under the scheme in 2018-’19. The finance minister says the government “successfully exceeded the target” in previous years.

11.44 am: 187 projects sanctioned under the Namami Gange programme, at an allocation of Rs 16,713 crore, says Finance Minister Jaitley.

11.42 am: The finance minister says the government is moving towards universal health coverage. Announces additional allocation of Rs 600 crore for nutritional support for tuberculosis patients.

11.40 am: Jaitley announces what he claims is the world’s “largest state-funded healthcare programme”. The government will launch a flagship National Health Protection Scheme, which will have 50 crore beneficiaries. The Centre will give up to Rs 5 lakh per family per year. This will include secondary and tertiary healthcare.

11.37 am: Jaitley says we need path-breaking interventions to address health holistically in primary, secondary and tertiary healthcare systems. He announces an allocation of Rs 1,200 crore for 1.5 lakh centres under the National Health Policy 2017 to provide comprehensive diagnostic services.

11.36 am: Jaitley announces 18 new autonomous Schools of Planning and Architecture in Indian Institutes of Technology and National Institutes of Technology.

11.32 am: “We now propose to take education holistically,” Jaitley says. A survey conducted for over 20 lakh students to assess learning outcomes will help target the problem district-wise, he says. “We will initiate an integrated BEd programme for teachers to improve the quality of teachers.”

11.32 am: The government will focus on spending more on livelihood, agriculture and rural infrastructure, says Jaitley. This will get Rs 14.34 lakh crore from budgetary and non-budgetary resources.

11.30 am: Rs 2,600 crore allocated for 96 irrigation-deprived districts that have suffered from depletion of groundwater, Jaitley says.

11.29 am: Jaitley announces an affordable housing fund.

11.28 am: Jaitley says 6 crore toilets have been built so far under the Swachh Bharat campaign. The target for the next financial year is to build 2 crore toilets.

11.26 am: 8 crore poor women to get free LPG connections, Jaitley says.

11.26 am: We will announce a special scheme to help the governments of Haryana, Punjab and Delhi to manage crop residue to curb air pollution, Jaitley says.

11.25 am: Jaitley proposes “favourable taxation” for farmer producer organisations.

11.24 am: Jaitley proposes creating infrastructure for aquaculture, fisheries and animal husbandry with an allocation of Rs 10,000 crore.

11.23 am: Scope of irrigation fund to be expanded to include more areas, Jaitley says.

11.22 am: Jaitley proposes Rs 500 crore Budget allocation for Operation Green.

11.21 am: India’s agricultural exports are at $100 billion. Exports of farm commodities to be liberalised, Jaitley says.

11.20 am: Budget allocation in the food processing industry will be increased from Rs 715 crore to Rs 1,400 crore.

11.20 am: We have promoted organic farming in a big way, Jaitley says. Rs 200 crore allocated for the sector.

11.17 am: Cultivation of horticulture crops in clusters can boost production and marketing, says Jaitley. Agri-market Development Fund with a corpus of Rs 2,000 crore to be set up for developing agricultural markets, Jaitley says.

11.16 am: The government will make an institution after consulting relevant ministries to help farmers decide on the right prices after they harvest their crops, says Jaitley

11.16 am: Jaitley says 470 APMCs have been connected to e-NAM network, and rest will be connected by March.

11.15 am: Want farmers to earn 1.5 times the cost of produce of their crops: Jaitley says on the government’s promise of doubling farm incomes in five years

11.13 am: From ease of doing business, our government has moved to ease of living for the poor and middle class, says Jaitley

11.12 am: Jaitley says the government hopes the economy will grow at 7.2% to 7.4% in the second half of 2018-’19. “We sought to effect a paradigm shift in the agriculture sector,” he says. “Narendra Modi gave a clarion call to double the income of farmers by 2022, India’s 75th year of independence.”

11.09 am: Arun Jaitley lists out major government schemes implemented in recent years. “We have worked sincerely without weighing political costs.” Services being delivered at doorsteps and into accounts – this has reduced the role of middlemen and corruption, he says.

11.08 am: This year’s budget will particularly focus on strengthening the rural economy, Jaitley says. India has improved by 42 places in the Ease of Doing Business rankings, he says.

11.07 am: India is expected to grow at 7.4% next year, Jaitley says.

11.05 am: Jaitley hails reforms such as the tax system, benefits to the poor, improvement in tax base after demonetisation, the insolvency and bankruptcy code, and proposed recapitalisation of banks. India is now a $2.5-trillion economy, he says.

11.04 am: Jaitley says the government has implemented a series of structural reforms, and India now stands out as one of the fastest growing economies.

11.03 am: Finance Minister Arun Jaitley rises to present the Budget.

11.01 am: Lok Sabha Speaker Sumitra Mahajan starts the proceedings with an obituary for BJP MP from Palghar, Maharashtra, Chintaman Wanaga.

10.58 am: Cabinet approves Budget 2018. Jaitley will begin his speech shortly.

10.56 am: The Confederation of Indian Industry says reducing corporate tax could be the “Brahmastra” this Budget. “Anticipate a focused address to agrarian distress in Budget 2018 and expect a strong push to public expenditure in today’s budget,” it says according to News18.

10.55 am: Five minutes to go before Finance Minister Arun Jaitley starts his Budget speech in Parliament.

10.26 am: Cabinet meeting begins inside Parliament ahead of the Budget.

10.23 am: Sniffer dogs inspect copies of the Budget before they are taken inside the Parliament building.

10.22 am: Prime Minister Narendra Modi and External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj arrive at the Parliament.

A report by the Association for Democratic Reforms published on Monday said the ruling BJP received Rs 290 crore of Rs 325.27 crore that corporate houses donated to 10 political parties through electoral trusts in 2016-’17.

10.17 am: Secretary General of the Communist Party of India (Marxist) Sitaram Yechury tweets, “No amount of fake promises made in the Budget can obliterate the fact that unemployment has shot up under this govt. Forget creating new jobs, existing jobs have been lost.”

He also shares a cartoon on how the BJP got the lion’s share of corporate donations in 2016-’17.

10.12 am: Here’s what is on the finance minister’s agenda today.

10.04 am: “CEA Dr Arvind Subramaniam has given his diagnosis. Let’s see whether the patient [the government in charge of the economy] is still in denial or it will take corrective action,” Former Finance Minister P Chidambaram tells CNN-News18.

10 am: Finance Minister arrives in Parliament. A Cabinet meeting is schedule for 10.30 am.

Finance Minister Arun Jaitley holds up the briefcase that contain the Budget documents. (Credit: Prakash Singh/AFP)
Finance Minister Arun Jaitley holds up the briefcase that contain the Budget documents. (Credit: Prakash Singh/AFP)

9.54 am: Stock markets soar ahead of the Budget – Sensex is 181.43 points up at 36,146.45 and Nifty is trading 50 points higher at 11,077.70.

9.52 am: Arun Jaitley meets President Ram Nath Kovind at Rashtrapati Bhavan before presenting the Budget, as is tradition.

9.45 am: Copies of Budget 2018 arrive in Parliament.

9.41 am: Minister of State for Finance Shiv Pratap Shukla tells CNBC-TV18 that the Budget will focus on public welfare. “We must fulfil everyone’s expectations,” he said. “The government has already announced recap plans for PSU banks and is committed to its focus on rural development.”

There has been much discussion on India’s widening fiscal deficit – the difference between expenditure and revenue. The government had already exceeded its fiscal deficit target for the current financial year – 3.2% of the Gross Domestic Product – in November 2017. The deficit in the April to November period was Rs 6.12 lakh crore, while the estimate in the Budget for 2017-’18 was Rs 5.46 lakh crore.

9.38 am: President of the Federation of Indian Chambers of Commerce & Industry Rashesh Shah tells CNBC-TV18 that the Indian economy picked up sharply since October 2017, and that a slip on fiscal deficit would not worry him.

9.33 am: Here’s an explainer on the Budget and how it affects citizens.

9.26 am: Reports say Arun Jaitley will present the Budget in Hindi in Parliament. This will make him the first finance minister since independence to deliver the Budget speech in Hindi. Reports say the aim is to portray it as a Budget for the common people and to reach the rural population.

9.19 am: Stock markets open higher ahead of the Budget – Sensex at 36,105.88 up 140.86 points and Nifty at 11,066.55 higher by 38.85 points.

The “Budget briefcase” is an English tradition that dates back to 1860. It contains the documents on the finance minister’s speed on the Budget.

9.06 am: Finance Minister Arun Jaitley leaves his office in North Block with the iconic briefcase that contains the documents on the Budget.

8.54 am: Finance Minister Arun Jaitley arrives at the office of the Ministry of Finance.

8.50 am: With investors nervous about the Budget, both Sensex and Nifty closed lower on Wednesday.

8.45 am: Security on alert outside the finance minister’s house in Delhi.

8.35 am: Minister of State for Finance Shiv Pratap Shukla says it will be a “good budget” “for the benefit of the common people”.

8.30 am: Finance Minister Arun Jaitley adds the “final touches to the General Budget 2018-’19” along with his Budget Team in his office in North Block in New Delhi.