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Burden

The finance minister carried an unfamiliar burden into Parliament on Thursday: a briefcase. Sources said it was a first — Jaitley had apparently avoided the accessory as a practising lawyer and as a minister in an earlier government.

Jaitley said he had been taken aback when, last week, an official showed him a couple of black briefcases and asked him to choose one. He asked why he couldn’t carry the budget documents unsheathed.

No minister, the scandalised official told him, the briefcase is a must on budget day because this is how things have always been done.