After delivering a comprehensive and the longest 160-minute budget speech on Saturday, Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman spoke to Republic Media Network's Editor-in-Chief Arnab Goswami. When asked if she wanted this to be the longest budget interview, she said she attempted it to be shorter but the expectations were high.
FM Sitharaman said: "I didn't want it to be longer. I have been insisting that it be shorter than the last one, the July budget. But the expectations of the various ministry, various departments, everybody wanted at least something mentioned about their ministries and areas. Also because the expectation of the economy has been such that we wanted to address every section. We had so much to say. Between July Budget and now, we have met up with so many different sections. All of them have something to say. If you were to talk about governance, if you were to talk about disinvestment, if you were to talk about schemes, also about newer things about the economy, it does take time. It was my desire to be shorter, but sorry."
Notably, the finance minister had to cut short her Budget speech as she felt unwell after speaking for a record 160 minutes in Lok Sabha. Sitharaman had only two pages of her Budget speech unread when she appeared uneasy. She then 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. She broke her own record of a 2-hour-17-minute-long maiden Budget speech in July 2017.
Union Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman tabled the Union Budget for the year 2020-2021 on Saturday. Delivering the longest budget speech for over 160 minutes, Sitharaman announced a number of schemes and policies aimed at strengthening the economy under Modi government. In a major decision, the Finance Minister announced a Life Insurance Corporation of India (LIC) will be listed as part of the government disinvestment initiative and the government will sell also its stake in the IDBI bank.
The government also announced a new 'optional' tax regime by slashing income tax rates and abolished DDT. To safeguard investors she also announced an increase in insurance cover for each depositor from Rs 1 lakh to Rs 5 lakh. The Finance Minister said that the three themes on which the Budget 2020 was based were: aspirational, economic development, caring society.