The budget speeches in India are becoming as long as they could. Incumbent Finance Minister Arun Jaitley has emerged as the Union finance minister with the second-longest budget speeches on average. But, then who is the first to give a mammoth speech in the parliament on the Budget Day?
The budget speeches in India are becoming as long as they could. Over the years, speeches of the finance Ministers during their tenure have been keenly-heard by corporates, media fraternity as well as the common man. And hence, the announcements keep increasing every year. In fact, the incumbent Finance Minister Arun Jaitley has emerged as the Union finance minister with the second-longest budget speeches on average. But, then who is the first to give a mammoth speech in the parliament on the Budget Day? So, the longest Budget speech by words was delivered by former PM Dr Manmohan Singh. Yes. Dr Manmohan Singh who was the Finance Minister in the year 1991 delivered a speech comprising 18,650 words.
It was Dr Singh’s first budget as the Finance Minister, in which he rolled out a series of structural reforms that ended the licence Raj. His Budget speech opened up the country’s economy, reduced peak customs from 220 percent to 150 percent. Current FM Arun Jaitley comes a close second after Dr Manmohan Singh, comprising 18,604 words, delivered last year. The third, fourth place and fifth place also goes to Arun Jaitley for his 18,122 words speech in 2015 ,17,991word speech in 2018 and 16,528 words speech in 2014 respectively. The shortest speech comprising 800 words was given by HM Patel in 1977 while delivering the interim Budget.
However, the longest time taken to give the Budget speech goes to Jaswant Singh in 2003. According to moneycontrol.com, Jaswant Singh, clocked 2 hours, 13 minutes in 2003 to give his speech. Arun Jaitley stands at the second place with his 2014 budget speech lasting for 2 hours and 10 minutes, which is excluding a four-minute break that he took for his health reasons. That’s not all. The present Finance Minister also holds the record for having the highest average number of paragraphs at 190. This is higher than all of India’s prior finance ministers’ speeches, except one. President Pranab Mukherjee, as the finance minister, had an average of 202 paragraphs for his budget speeches. The third on this list P. Chidambaram, with an average of 173 paragraphs.
Today, as Finance Minister Arun Jaitley delivers the last budget speech of his term, it will be interesting to see whether he breaks Dr.Manmohan Singh’s record.