Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman’s Budget speech on Monday lasted a little less than two hours. At one hour and 50 minutes, this was, by far, her shortest Budget speech in the last three years.
In 2020, the finance minister’s Budget speech lasted 2 hours and 40 minutes or 160 minutes. While, the year before that, Nirmala Sitharaman spoke for 2 hours and 15 minutes or 135 minutes.
Nirmala Sitharaman, however, is not the only finance minister to have delivered long Budget speeches. Arun Jaitley, as the finance minister in 2014, read out the Budget for 2 hours and 10 minutes (or 130 minutes). Jaswant Singh, who was the finance minister in the Atal Bihari Vajpayee government for nearly two years, delivered a 2 hour and 13 minutes (133 minutes) long Budget speech in 2003.
In a first, Finance Minister Sitharaman this year read out her Budget speech from a tablet, doing away with the bahi khata tradition she had started two years ago.
Some of the major announcements made in the Budget this year include exemption from filing Income Tax returns for senior citizens above 75 years of age with only pension and interest income and setting-up of a faceless dispute resolution mechanism for small taxpayers.