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Nirmala Sitharaman and a short history of lengthy Union Budget speeches

While the budget speech can be made between 90 and 120 minutes, Nirmala Sitharaman’s was the longest in terms of duration in independent India's history. In 2020, she had begun the speech on at 11 am and even with two pages of the Budget yet to be read, she ended it around 1:40 pm.

January 30, 2022 / 07:09 PM IST
Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman along with her staff gestures as she leaves the Finance Ministry to present the annual budget in parliament in New Delhi on February 1, 2021.

Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman along with her staff gestures as she leaves the Finance Ministry to present the annual budget in parliament in New Delhi on February 1, 2021.


Apart from being in the news for the announcements made during the Budget day, Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman had in 2020 made headlines for the length of her Budget speech – about 2 hours 40 minutes.

While the budget speech can be made between 90 and 120 minutes, Sitharaman’s was the longest in terms of duration in independent India's history. On February 1, she had begun the speech on at 11 am and even with two pages of the Budget yet to be read, she ended it around 1:40 pm.

The Minister had broken her 2019 record of the longest Budget speech made in India.

Read more: Can Budget 2022 take the market out of its current nervousness?

In 2019, Sitharaman had delivered a marathon Union Budget speech that went on for 2 hours and 17 minutes. Peppered with Hindi, Tamil and Urdu couplets, she went past former Finance Minister Jaswant Singh's record of 2 hours 15 minutes in 2003.

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Most ‘wordy’ budget announcement

In terms of the number of words, however, it Manmohan Singh, then finance minister in the Narasimha Rao government, who topped the list. His 1991 Budget speech had 18,650 words, while that of Sitharaman in 2020 had 13,275 words.

During the Budget announcement next year, Nirmala Sitharaman wrapped up her 10,500-words speech in 1 hour 40 minutes. The country’s first woman Finance Minister’s third Union Budget announcement was also her shortest.

Shortest Union budget speech

The shortest Union Budget speech ever made in India was delivered by former Finance Minister Hirubhai Mulljibhai Patel in 1977. It was an interim Budget and consisted of just 800 words.

Read more: A Stock trader's guide to what may happen on Budget Day



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Moneycontrol News
first published: Jan 30, 2022 10:39 am
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