Budget 2022: Long, short and everything interesting about the annual financial statement
Finance Minister Nirmala Sithraman will present the Budget on 1 February 2022, thereby becoming the first female finance minister to present the Budget for the fourth time in a row
With just a few days to go for the Union Budget, all eyes are trained on Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman as she will present the annual financial statement.
Ahead of this, we present some trivia that will get you all fired up for the Budget presentation on 1 February.
First Budget for India
The Budget was first introduced in India on 7 April, 1860 by James Wilson from East India Company to the British Crown. Independent India saw its first budget on 26 November, 1947 by then Finance Minister RK Shanmukham Chetty.
2 hours and 42 minutes
Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman holds the record for delivering the longest speech while presenting the Union Budget 2020-21 on February 1, 2020. With two pages still remaining, she had to cut short her speech as she felt unwell. She asked the Speaker to consider the remaining part of the speech as read. During the course of this speech, she broke her own record — in July 2019, during her maiden speech, Sitharaman spoke for 2 hours and 17 minutes.
Manmohan Singh showed he was a real word wizard when he delivered the longest Budget speech in terms of words in 1991 under the Narasimha Rao government. In 2018, then finance minister Arun Jaitley’s speech was the second longest in terms of word count. It had 18,604 words and Jaitley spoke for an hour and 49 minutes.
That's the length of the shortest budget speech till date and it was delivered by former Finance Minister Hirubhai Mulljibhai Patel in 1977.
Former Prime Minister Moraraji Desai holds the record of presenting the most number of budgets in the history of the country. He had presented 10 budgets during his stint as finance minister during 1962-69, followed by P Chidambaram (9), Pranab Mukherjee (8), Yashwant Sinha (8), and Manmohan Singh (6).
‘Shaayari’ and couplets read out
Budget speeches are most often long and pretty colourless. To inject some interest and awaken MPs, finance ministers have often peppered their speeches with shayaris and couplets.
In 2021, Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman invoked legendary poets by including their verses in her Budget speech. Towards the beginning, Sitharaman read out a couplet by Rabindranath Tagore: “Faith is the bird that feels the light/and sings when the dawn is still dark.”
The lines are from Tagore’s poem titled Fireflies, translated from bilingual Lekhan (1926).
She also recited a couplet from Thirukkural: “A King/Ruler is the one who creates and acquires wealth,/protects and distributes it for common good.”
Penned by Thiruvalluvar, this is taken from the classic Tamil text consisting of 1,330 short couplets of seven words each, divided into 133 chapters.
Finance ministers before her have also recited poems during their Budget speeches.
In 2015, taking a dig at the UPA rule, Arun Jaitley borrowed these lines from a Hindi poem: "Kuch to gul khilaye hai, kuch abhi khilaane hai, par baagh mein ab bhi kaante kuch purane hain."
Until 1999, the union budget was announced at 5 pm on the last working day of February, a practice inherited from the British era. Former Finance Minister Yashwant Sinha changed the budget presentation ritual by announcing the 1999 Union Budget at 11 am.
There’s a leak!
Budget documents used to be printed at Rashtrapati Bhavan till there was a leak in 1950. The following year, printing was shifted to a press on Minto Road and then to the basement of North Block, which then became the permanent venue for the printing press of budget papers.
Mind your language
Until 1955, the Union Budget was presented in English. However, the Congress-led government later decided to print the Budget papers in both Hindi and English.
For the first time in Independent India's history, the Budget for 2021-22 was paperless. This was done keeping in view the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic.
Don't miss our budget explainers
- Union Budget 2022-23: Understanding the government's annual financial statement
- Union Budget 2022-23: From issuance of circulars to printing, how the Budget is brought to life
- Union Budget 2022-2023: What's in the Budget briefcase and the history behind the bag
With inputs from agencies
The Cabinet meeting chaired by PM Modi was attended by Amit Shah, Rajnath Singh, S Jaishankar, Nitin Gadkari, Nirmala Sitharaman, Kiren Rijiju, Anurag Thakur, and Smriti Irani among others
The government also announced a fertiliser subsidy of Rs 1.10 crore and a customs duty cut on raw materials for plastic products
Union Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman had on 21 May announced a Rs 8 per litre cut in excise duty on petrol and Rs 6 a litre on diesel to avoid increase in fuel prices that were necessitated due to surge in international oil prices