Union Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman is set to present the interim budget for the fiscal year 2024-25 on February 1, marking the last budget of the Narendra Modi government before the Lok Sabha elections.
As the budget speech holds significant importance, it’s interesting to note that Nirmala Sitharaman herself holds the record for delivering the longest budget speech.
During the 2020 Union Budget on February 1, Sitharaman began her presentation at 11 am and continued until 1:40 pm, speaking for an impressive two hours and 42 minutes. Her speech was cut short due to health concerns, with only two pages remaining. Lok Sabha Speaker Om Birla took over to complete the rest of the budget reading.
In her first budget speech for the year 2019-2020, Sitharaman spoke for two hours and 17 minutes. In 2022, her speech lasted for one and a half hours, making it her shortest-ever budget presentation.
The record for the most words in a budget speech belongs to Manmohan Singh, who delivered an 18,650-word speech in 1991 when he served as the Finance Minister of the Narasimha Rao government. This speech included significant announcements regarding the liberalisation of the Indian economy. In 2018, Finance Minister Arun Jaitley’s speech comprised 18,604 words.
On the other end of the spectrum, the shortest budget speech was in 1977 by Finance Minister Hirubhai Mulljibhai Patel, with only 800 words.