For the first time ever, the government went paperless while presenting the Union Budget 2021-22.
At 10,500 words and 100 minutes (1 hour, 40 minutes), Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman’s third Union Budget on Monday (February 1), was also her shortest. In the previous two instances that she’s presented the Budget — 2020 and 2019 — she had set the record for longest speeches ever.
For the first time ever, the government went paperless while presenting the Union Budget 2021-22. The finance minister replaced the ‘bahi katha’ with a tablet as she presented the Budget, which she had claimed earlier, was “like no other” Budget.
Here are a few other interesting facts about Budget speeches:
Nirmala Sitharaman holds the record for longest speech: At 2 hours and 42 minutes, Sitharaman delivered the longest speech while presenting the Union Budget 2020-21 on February 1, 2020. With two pages still remaining, she had to cut short her speech as she felt unwell. She asked the Speaker to consider the remaining part of the speech as read. During the course of this speech, she broke her own record — in July 2019, during her maiden speech, Sitharaman spoke for 2 hours and 17 minutes.
The shortest speech consisted of just 800 words: The shortest Union Budget speech was delivered by former finance minister Hirubhai Mulljibhai Patel in 1977. It was an interim Budget and consisted of just 800 words
Jaswant Singh spoke for over 2 hours: Before Sitharaman, it was former finance minister Jaswant Singh who held the record for the longest speech in terms of time consumed. His 2003 speech lasted 2 hours and 13 minutes.
Manmohan Singh, the word wizard: In terms of the number of words, Manmohan Singh, then finance minister in the Narasimha Rao government, delivered the longest Budget speech in 1991, which included 18,650 words.
Arun Jaitley, too, read out over 18,000 words: In 2018, then finance minister Arun Jaitley’s speech was the second longest in terms of word count. It had 18,604 words and Jaitley spoke for an hour and 49 minutes. In 2017, too, Jaitley had delivered a speech that lasted an hour and 50 minutes.
Longest and shortest in terms of paragraphs: Pranab Mukherjee had an average of 202 paragraphs in his Budget speeches. At an average of 185 paras, Jaitley came close. Former finance minister P Chidambaram, too, wasn’t far behind with an average of 173 paragraphs.
The first Union Budget speech by late R K Shanmukham Chetty was the shortest: It had just 39 paragraphs.
First Published: IST