The interim budget for the fiscal year 2025 was adopted by the Indian cabinet on Thursday, as the largest democracy in the world examines the final financial document of the Modi government 2.0 in an attempt to find ways to mitigate price difficulties. It is largely expected, meanwhile, that New Delhi will continue to prioritise budgetary responsibility over populism before the upcoming summer Lok Sabha elections.

All eyes will be on Sitharaman’s guidance in the budget, which aims to keep the inflation monster under control while simultaneously posing a threat to the lower and middle classes in India and complicating the Reserve Bank of India‘s ability to set interest rates and driving up input costs for corporations.

As she headed for Parliament on Thursday to submit the interim Budget 2024–25 in a paperless format similar to the past three years, Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman once again carried a digital tablet wrapped in a traditional “bahi-khata” type pouch. She and her entourage of officials stood for the customary “briefcase” photo outside her office prior to meeting with the President. Rather than carrying a briefcase, she was using a tablet to display the Budget in digital form.

Leaving the briefcase behind—the tablet was carefully placed inside a scarlet cover with the national insignia imprinted in golden colour—and heading straight to Parliament, she had met President Droupadi Murmu at Rashtrapati Bhawan.

In July 2019, Sitharaman, the country’s first full-time female finance minister, replaced the colonial-era budget briefcase with the customary “bahi-khata” to transport Union Budget documents. She continued to use the same in the subsequent year, and in the year when the pandemic struck in 2021, she replaced her paper documents with a digital tablet to carry her speech and other budgetary paperwork.

On Thursday, that custom was upheld.

The Modi government’s budget for the fiscal year 2024–2024 (FY 2024–2024) is its 12th consecutive one since 2014 (with the exception of an interim budget that was published prior to the 2019 general elections).

After Narendra Modi won the election again, she was named finance minister and on July 5, 2019, she unveiled her first budget. She carried budget paperwork in a red cloth folder with a string closure and the national insignia printed on it.

This year’s budget, 2024–25, is Sitharaman’s sixth consecutive one.