Senior BJP leader and former finance minister Arun Jaitley, who passed away on Saturday, was known for his long budget speeches, with his first budget speech, presented in 2014 being the longest so far consisting of 253 paragraphs. His first budget speech took 2 hours and 10 minutes to be delivered.
Jaitley had the second-longest budget speeches on an average, in terms of the number of paragraphs. On average, his speeches consisted of 185 paras.
His fifth budget speech in 2018 went on for about 109 minutes. His budget speech in 2017 was delivered in 110 minutes and his second budget speech in 2015 took more than two hours.
However, Jaswant Singh holds the record for the longest budget speech, in terms of time taken, with 2 hours 13 minutes taken for presentation in 2003, according to Indpaedia.com, a volunteer-based archival portal.
Former finance minister Pranab Mukherjee, who later became India's President, had an average of 202 paragraphs in his speeches. P. Chidambaram comes third in the list with an average of 173 paragraphs.
Among the top ten finance ministers with long budget speeches are Yashwant Sinha (170 paragraphs), Manmohan Singh (133), R.Venkataraman (132), Haribhai M. Patel (117), Yashwantrao B. Chavan (88), T.T.Krishnamachari (78) and Morarji R. Desai (77).
The first budget speech of independent India, presented by R. K. Shanmukham Chetty, was the shortest with 39 paragraphs.
Jaitley, who was admitted in the ICU at Delhi-based All India Institute of Medical Sciences since August 9, passed away at around 12 pm today.
"It is with profound grief that we inform about the sad demise of former finance minister Arun Jaitley, Member of Parliament (MP) at 12:07 p.m. on Saturday. Jaitley was admitted in AIIMS, New Delhi on August 9 and was treated by a multi-disciplinary team of senior doctors," said Aarti Vij, chairperson, Media and Protocol, AIIMS.
Jaitley held the finance and defence portfolios in the BJP government's first term, and often acted as the chief troubleshooter of the government as well as many Opposition members.