Budget 2020: FM Nirmala Sitharaman delivers longest Budget speech ever
Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman on Saturday delivered one of the longest Budget speeches crossing 160 minutes (2 hours and 40 minutes) in duration.
Before getting into announcing the allocations made for 2020-21, she laid out three prominent themes around the Budget - Aspirational India, economic development for all, and a caring society.
Her first Budget speech, in July 2019, went on for around 137 (2 hours 17 minutes).
Unable to continue, she told the Speaker to consider the rest of the speech as laid and sat in her seat.
Many of the announcements including reduction in personal income tax rates were welcomed with thumping of desks by treasury benches. Prime Minister Narendra Modi too joined the members in the applause.
However, some of her remarks regarding Beti Bachao Beti Padao programme were met with protests from the Opposition benches.
'Entrepreneurship' - The strength of India
Lauding India's spirit of entrepreneurship, she said, "Entrepreneurship has always been the strength of India. We respect the risk-taking appetite of India's youth."
She also proposed a slew of measures to ensure ease of doing business for Indian startups, including a seed fund to support early-stage startups and an investment clearance and advisory cell for entrepreneurs, among other measures.
Calling India's growing crop of entrepreneurs "job creators", the Finance Minister noted that the young men and women of India are today giving up greener pastures to create new businesses and employment opportunities in India, ensuring further economic growth.
Apart from entrepreneurship, the finance minister ensured that there is a focus on subjects like new economy as well as emerging technologies in her Budget announcement and allocations for the same.
She added that in terms of emerging technologies - 3D Printing, Data storage, Quantum computing, IoT are changing the face of the world; while India is embracing the new sharing economy displacing conventional businesses.
The FM also added that Indian government is looking at new technologies for DBT (Direct Benefit Transfer), and that Analytics and Fintech are changing the way we are dealing with our lives.
She emphasised the importance of IP creation and protection and announced the launch of a digital platform for Intellectual Property Protection.
"The platform will facilitate seamless application, and a centre will be established to work on the complexity and innovation for IP. She also proposed knowledge transfer sectors, which would help in proof of concept and creation of products."
Sitharaman also announced that - there will be a policy to build data-center parks throughout the country; a digital platform for seamless submission for IP applications; and knowledge transfer centers for new emerging sectors.
She also announced an outlay of Rs 8,000 crore for five years for quantum-technologies related computing and other applications
(With inputs from PTI).
(Edited by Megha Reddy)