How long is the average Indian budget presentation speech?

WION Web Team
New Delhi Updated: Feb 01, 2022, 09:06 AM(IST)

(File photo) Budget speech Photograph:( PTI )

Story highlights

The budget session of the Parliament is considered to be the most important event in India. It is not only watched by policy experts and businessmen, but the general people also view it with much curiosity as they get to know which products are going to get cheaper or costlier

India’s Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman is all set to table the country’s budget at Parliament’s lower house, Lok Sabha, on February 1 at 11 am.

The budget session of Parliament will be held in two parts.

The first part will be held from January 31 till February 11 and the second part will be held from March 14 to April 8.

Before 2016, the budget was presented on the last working day of February, which was changed by former finance minister Arun Jaitley.

The budget session of the Parliament is considered to be the most important event in India. It is not only watched by policy experts and businessmen, but the general people also view it with much curiosity as they get to know which products are going to get cheaper or costlier.

For experts, the budget’s numbers are important to gauge which sectors have gained the government’s priority, but for the people, it is the speech given by the finance minister that matters.

Hence, it becomes all the more important for the government to make the speeches clear and concise in order to convey their message to the voters.

But giving a speech during the session can become an exhaustive event not only for the finance minister but also for the public listening to them.

As surprising as it may sound, India’s budget presentation is notorious for being too long. On an average it takes anywhere between 90 and 120 minutes.

India's current finance minister Nirmala Sitharaman

Nirmala Sitharaman holds the record for longest speech: The present finance minister Nirmala Sitharaman currently holds the record of giving the longest budget speech in the history of independent India.

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.

Jaswant Singh

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.

The shortest speech consisted of just 800 words: Former finance minister Hirubhai Mulljibhai Patel delivered the shortest budget speech in 1977. It consisted of only 800 words.

Manmohan Singh

Manmohan Singh's budget consisted of 18,650 words: In terms of the number of words, former prime minister Manmohan Singh and also the then finance minister in the Narasimha Rao government, delivered the longest budget speech in 1991, which included 18,650 words.

R K Shanmukham Chetty

The first Union Budget speech by late R K Shanmukham Chetty was the shortest: It had just 39 paragraphs.

(With inputs from agencies)

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