Expert economist and former Prime Minister Dr. Manmohan Singh on Saturday, said that the 160-minute long budget speech by Finance minister Nirmala Sitharaman was 'too long to absorb'. Similar sentiments were echoed by former Congress chief Rahul Gandhi who said that the budget was 'All talk, all talk, all talk, nothing happening'. Sitharaman's speech was the longest Budget speech which she could not finish as she felt unwell at the end.
"It's such a long budget, I was unable to absorb it," he said to reporters. Dr. Singh is a well-known critic of the Modi government's economic policies. He had also slammed the $5 trillion budget presented in June, calling it over-achieving.
Previously in September, after the GDP of India slipped to 5% Dr. Singh said the state of the economy was "deeply worrying" and that "all-round mismanagement" by the Modi government has resulted in this slowdown. In a statement, he said the last quarter GDP growth rate of 5 percent signals that "we are in midst of a prolonged slowdown". Singh said it is particularly the manufacturing sector's state was distressing - the sector's growth, tottering at 0.6 percent was worrisome.
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 the 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.