Friday, May 7, 2021

“Too long to absorb”: Dr Manmohan Singh on FM’s 160-minute budget

New Delhi, February 1: Former Prime Minister Manmohan Singh today remarked that Budget 2020 was “too long” for him to absorb it, after Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman went on for a record 160 minutes, or two hours and 40 minutes, before stopping without finishing her speech.
“It’s such a long budget, I was unable to absorb it,” was all that reporters got from Manmohan Singh, who has rarely shied away from giving his critique on Budget day.
The Finance Minister announced cuts in income tax rates for individuals and scrapping of dividend distribution tax besides measures to tackle the economic slump.
But in a first, Nirmala Sitharaman did not complete her Union Budget 2020 speech, which was the longest ever. She paused mid-way and sat down because she reportedly felt unwell, and had to be given sugar and water. Her blood pressure reportedly fell and she was advised to sit.
The Finance Minister told parliament that there were only two more pages and the Budget should be considered as read.
Last year, Ms Sitharaman’s speech lasted two hours, 17 minutes. This year, she stopped for breath at two hours and 41 minutes.
While Dr Singh refused to comment, others in the Congress party were more vocal, including Rahul Gandhi. “This reflects the government’s mindset well – all talk, nothing concrete, lots of repetition and rambling,” said the former Congress president. (ndtv)