Latest: Nirmala Sitharaman’s Remark Draws Laughter

Latest: Nirmala Sitharaman’s Remark Draws Laughter

Nirmala Sitharaman addressed questions at a post-Budget press conference.

After presenting the Budget in parliament this morning, Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman addressed questions from journalist at a post-Budget press conference – but it was her intervention on behalf of a woman journalist who was reprimanded for asking two questions instead of one that became the highlight of the event. “Why do you say that only to her? You didn’t stop the guys,” Ms Sitharaman said to a colleague who had requested the journalist to ask only one question. 

Nirmala Sitharaman’s remark drew laughter from the audience and even from members of her team, who were seen sitting on either side of the finance minister.

The incident unfolded when the journalist – who identified herself as herself as Gulveen from The Economic Times – got a chance to ask the finance minister a question. By this time, Ms Sitharaman had already answered several journalists at the press conference which was streamed live on the government’s Press Information Bureau YouTube channel for over three hours. Several journalists had asked her more than a single question. 

When the Economic Times journalist said that she had two questions for the finance minister, Ms Sitharaman’s colleague interrupted her to say “No, only one… others are there.”

On hearing this, Ms Sitharaman intervened in support of the journalist. Her remarks drew appreciative chuckles from the audience and the journalist was heard thanking the minister before continuing.

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In her shortest ever Budget speech, Ms Sitharaman announced a jump in capital expenditure, more spending on infrastructure and the doubling of the spending on health.

The Finance Minister announced ₹ 35,000 crore for COVID-19 vaccines this year. “Only three times has the Budget followed a contraction in the economy This time, unlike before, the situation is due to a global pandemic,” she said. She added that two more COVID-19 vaccines will arrive.

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