Sitharaman Cuts Short Budget 2020 Speech After Feeling Unwell
NEW DELHI : Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman delivered the longest-ever budget speech that lasted for over two-and-a-half hours. Sitharaman began her Budget 2020 speech at 11 am and ended it at 1.41 pm, clocking 2 hours and 41 minutes.
Sitharaman had only two pages of her Budget speech unread when she appeared uneasy and was seen wiping sweat from her forehead. She was offered candies by her ministerial colleagues, but that did not help and she opted to discontinue the speech asking Speaker Om Birla to consider the remaining part of her speech as read. This was the longest Budget speech by any finance minister.
Arun Jaitley, who died last year, holds the record with his 2014 speech consisting 253 paragraphs. Jaitley’s 2014 speech lasted 2 hours and 10 minutes. The first budget speech of Independent India, which was delivered by RK Shanmukham Chetty, was the shortest with 39 paragraphs.
She broke her own record of a 2-hour-17-minute-long maiden Budget speech in July 2019. In the Union Budget 2020, Sitharaman offered big relief to middle class tax payers. Under the new regime, people earning up to Rs 5 lakh will not be levied any tax. Those who fall in Rs 5 lakh to Rs 7.5 lakh bracket will have to pay 10 per cent income tax, while those in 7.5 lakh to 10 lakh slab will be charged 15 per cent tax.
People in the 10 lakh to 12.5 lakh range will have to pay 20 per cent tax. Those coming under 12.5 lakh to 15 lakh bracket will be levied 25 per cent income tax and people with income above 15 lakh will pay 30 per cent tax.
Her blood pressure reportedly fell and she was advised to sit. Colleagues appeared to offer her candy. Union Minister Harsimrat Kaur was seen giving her a glass of water. As she appeared reluctant to continue, Defence Minister Rajnath Singh appeared to reassure her.
Later, the Finance Minister said she was “feeling better” and went to the Rajya Sabha to place the Budget in the house. Ms Sitharaman beat her own record of the longest Budget speech ever. Last year, her speech lasted two hours, 17 minutes. This year, she stopped for breath at two hours and 41 minutes.