Sitharaman holds the record for delivering the longest speech when she spoke for 2 hours and 42 minutes while presenting the Union Budget 2020-21.

Union Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman
news Union Budget 2022 Tuesday, February 01, 2022 - 13:18

Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman on February 1 presented her fourth straight Union Budget and her budget speech this year was the shortest ever. Sitharaman spoke for approximately 1 hour 30 minutes while presenting the financial statements and tax proposals for fiscal year 2022-23 (April 2022 to March 2023). Sitharaman holds the record for delivering the longest speech when she spoke for 2 hours and 42 minutes 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 of July 2019 - her maiden Budget - when she had spoken for 2 hours and 17 minutes.

In 2019, Sitharaman became the second woman to have presented the budget after Indira Gandhi, who had presented the budget for the financial year 1970-71. That year, Sitharaman did away with the traditional budget briefcase and instead went for a traditional 'bahi-khata' with the National Emblem to carry the speech and other documents.

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Historically, the most words spoken during a budget speech was Manmohan Singh delivered the longest Budget speech in terms of words in 1991 under the Narasimha Rao government — at 18,650 words. In 2018, then finance minister Arun Jaitley's speech with 18,604 words was the second longest in terms of word count. Jaitley spoke for 1 hour and 49 minutes. The shortest budget speech was in 1977. 800 words was all that the then finance minister Hirubhai Mulljibhai Patel delivered 

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).

Until 1999, the Union Budget was presented at 5 pm on the last working day of February as per British era practice. Former Finance Minister Yashwant Sinha in 1999 changed the budget presentation timing to 11 am. Arun Jaitley started presenting the Union Budget on February 1 in 2017, departing from the colonial-era tradition of using the last working day of that month.

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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. The COVID-19 pandemic turned Budget 2021-22 into paperless — a first in Independent India.