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January 31, 2022

FM Budget Speech Length: Long, Short and everything about Budget

by Mahesh Mara in GST, Income Tax

FM Budget Speech Length: Long, Short and everything about Budget

With just hours to go for the Union Budget, all eyes are on the Finance Minister who will present the annual financial statement. Ahead of the budget, here we will present some trivia that will get you all fired up for the Budget presentation on 1 February.

First Budget for India

In India the first budget was introduced on 7th April, 1860 by James Wilson from East India Company to the British Crown. After the Independence India saw its first budget on 26 November, 1947 presented by the then Finance Minister RK Shanmukham Chetty.

Longest Budget Speech of 2 hours and 42 minutes

The current Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman holds the record for delivering the longest speech while presenting the Union Budget 2020-21 on 1st February, 2020 during the course of the speech, the Finance Minister broke her own previous record made in July 2019, during her first speech, Sitharaman spoke for 2 hours and 17 minutes. With two pages still remaining, she had to cut short her speech for Union Budget 2020-21 as she felt unwell. She asked the Speaker to consider the remaining part of the speech as read.

Longest Budget speech in terms of Words : 18,650 words

Manmohan Singh exhibited he was a real word wizard when he delivered the longest Budget speech in terms of words in 1991 during the Narasimha Rao government. In 2018, the then finance minister Late Shri Arun Jaitley’s speech was the second longest in terms of word count which was 18,604 words and Jaitley spoke for 1 hour and 49 minutes.

Shortest Budget speech in terms of Words : 800 words

800 words that’s the length of the shortest budget speech till date and it was delivered by former Finance Minister Hirubhai Mulljibhai Patel in 1977.

Maximum number of budget by a FM

Former Prime Minister Moraraji Desai holds the record of presenting the most number of budgets in the history of the country. He had presented 10 budgets during his stint as finance minister during 1962-69, followed by P Chidambaram (9), Pranab Mukherjee (8), Yashwant Sinha (8), and Manmohan Singh (6).

‘Shaayari’ and verses read out during budget speech

Budget speeches are often long and pretty colourless. In order inject some interest and awaken the MPs, finance ministers have often deliver their speeches with shayaris and couplets.

During the Budget 2021, Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman mentioned legendary poets in her Budget speech by including their verses. In the beginning, Sitharaman read out a few lines from the poetry of Rabindranath Tagore: “Faith is the bird that feels the light/and sings when the dawn is still dark. ”The lines are from Tagore’s poem titled Fireflies, translated from bilingual Lekhan (1926).

She also recited a couplet from Thirukkural: “A King/Ruler is the one who creates and acquires wealth,/protects and distributes it for common good.” Penned by Thiruvalluvar, this is taken from the classic Tamil text consisting of 1,330 short couplets of seven words each, divided into 133 chapters.

Change in Timing of the Budget

Till 1999, the union budget was held during the last working day of February at 5 pm as per UK standard time, a practice inherited from the British era. When it is 11am in the day in London, it is 5pm in the evening in India. Former Finance Minister Yashwant Sinha changed the budget presentation ritual by announcing the 1999 Union Budget at 11 am as per Indian Standard Time.

Budget in Hindi

Till 1955, the Union Budget was presented in English. However, the Congress-led government later decided to print the Budget papers in both Hindi and English.

Paperless Budget and Halwa ceremony

The traditional ‘Halwa ceremony’ was not held in view of the outbreak of the highly infectious Omicron variant. As part of the ritual, ‘halwa’ was prepared in a big ‘kadhai’ (large frying pot) and served to the entire staff involved in the Budget making exercise of the ministry. This year, the third wave of Covid-19 has induced more curbs. As a result, the symbolic halwa ceremony was not held.

For the first time in Independent India’s history, the Budget for 2021-22 was paperless. This was done keeping in view the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic.

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