Jaitley who started his Budget speech in English, quickly switched over to Hindi the moment he came to the chapter on agriculture and rural economy.
New Delhi: Finance minister Arun Jaitley by reading his budget speech bilingually, defied convention as no finance minister since the inception of the budget exercise has spoken in Hindi at length.
Mr Jaitley who started his Budget speech in English, quickly switched over to Hindi the moment he came to the chapter on agriculture and rural economy.
In other words the populist measures were all read out in Hindi. With the focus of the NDA government’s last full budget prior to 2019 Lok Sabha polls, being completely on the rural poor and providing sops to farmers, the finance minister read the entire chapter in Hindi, before switching over to English while reading later chapters.
The move, as reported by this newspaper on January 31, was aimed at sending a signal to the farmers that it is the common man’s budget.
Meanwhile there were several sidelights during Mr Jaitley’s speech, as he quipped, “Ab hawai chappal wale bhi hawai jahaz mein ja payenge,” while speaking on the small town connectivity scheme of the Civil Aviation Ministry.
When Mr Jaitley was announcing sops in the agriculture sector for farmers, TMC MP Saugata Roy reminded that farmers’ suicides were continuing unabated.
The moment the Finance Minister started reading out paragraphs on boosting the food processing sector, Mr Roy again quipped that “making pakodas should also be encouraged”. He was taking a jibe at Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s recent comment when he had said that small level entrepreneurial jobs were on the rise and had given the example of how ‘pakoda sellers’ had spawned across country.
Mr Modi was present in Lok Sabha during the presentation of the budget. However there was no reaction from the treasury benches over Mr Roy’s comments, even as Opposition members could be seen laughing.