New Delhi: Soon after Union Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman finished presenting her Union Budget 2020 with 2.5-hour-long speech, former Prime Minister Manmohan Singh on Saturday said that the Budget 2020 was ‘too long’ for him to understand anything clearly.
The statement from Manmohan Singh, who was also the finance minister, came soon after Sitharaman spoke for about 160 minutes during her budget presentation before stopping even without finishing her speech.
“The Union Budget 2020 was too long and I was not able to absorb it,” Singh said outside Parliament soon after Sitharaman presented her budget.
Earlier, Congress leader Anand Sharma said that the budget was full of flowery language and high-sounding words.
Notably, Sitharaman’s speech last year lasted two hours, 17 minutes. This year, she stopped for breath at two hours and 41 minutes. With last year’s speech, she had broken former Finance Minister Jaswant Singh’s speech record by two minutes, which now remains the third-longest.
She began her speech at 11 AM and it continued nearly till 1:40 PM, making it the longest in the history of independent India.
In 2018, late finance minister Arun Jaitley was also known for delivering long budget speeches which lasted for about 1 hour 49 minutes and 2017 speech for 1 hour 50 minutes. Jaitley’s 2015 budget speech had lasted for over two hours.
Congress leader Rahul Gandhi termed the budget speech of Sitharaman ‘hollow’ and said it has nothing new for job, employment and youth of the country. “Maybe this was the longest Budget speech in history but it had nothing, it was hollow”, Gandhi said.