Updated: February 2, 2020 10:44:56 am
Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman on Saturday delivered the longest-ever Budget speech for two hours and 40 minutes, breaking her own record of a two-hour-17-minute speech in the last Budget.
“Everything that we do here, everything that we speak through the Budget and everything that this government does, with the guidance and leadership of the Prime Minister, is for this ‘pyara watan’,” she said in her speech, which contained quotes from Sanskrit, Tamil and Kashmiri poems.
Sitharaman had two pages of her speech left to be read when she appeared uneasy and was seen wiping her forehead.
Soon, her ministerial colleague Harsimrat Kaur Badal rushed to her seat and offered candies. TMC Member Kakoli Ghosh Dastidar, a doctor by profession, also rushed towards the front row. As a few more women members moved towards Sitharaman, Speaker Om Birla asked them to remain seated. Later, Sitharaman opted to discontinue the speech, asking the Speaker to consider the remaining part of her speech as read.
When the House was adjourned after introduction of Finance Bill, 2020, Prime Minister Narendra Modi walked to her seat and asked about her health. Several other Union ministers and members of the Opposition members also asked about her health.
Sitharaman started her speech with expressing gratitude to the people for re-electing the Narendra Modi government with a massive mandate in the 2019 general election.
Describing the GST as one of the most historic structural reforms, Sitharaman remembered her predecessor and former Union minister late Arun Jaitley and called him the “chief architect” of GST. During her speech, she invoked Kashmiri poet Dinanath Kaul and referred to his poem which says our country is the most loved country of the world.
Making a case for the balanced use of fertilisers, the Finance Minister invoked Sangam-era Tamil Woman saint poet Avvaiyar’s verse — “Bhumi tiruthi Unn” — meaning one must “first tend to till one’s land and then eat”.
Invoking Tamil poet Thiruvalluvar’s words, “Freedom from illness, wealth, produce, happiness and protection (to subjects); these five, are the ornaments of a kingdom”, she said these are the five priority areas of the government as well. After she made the remark, some Opposition members were heard raising slogans.
While announcing the direct tax proposals, Sitharaman quoted verses from Raghuvamsa by Sanskrit poet Kalidasa, “Surya, the Sun, collects vapour from little drops of water. So does the King. They give back copiously. They collect only for people’s wellbeing.”
The Finance Minister referred to the Indus Valley Civilization as Sindhu-Saraswati while talking about trade in ancient India.
📣 The Indian Express is now on Telegram. Click here to join our channel (@indianexpress) and stay updated with the latest headlines
- The Indian Express website has been rated GREEN for its credibility and trustworthiness by Newsguard, a global service that rates news sources for their journalistic standards.