Some budget speeches have acquired a larger than life image because of unusual circumstances. But as you go through a selection of quotes from budget speeches ranging from Jawaharlal Nehru to Arun Jaitley, you cannot mistake the "commitment" to the Indian farmer and to the agriculture sector. One wonders why Indian agriculture continues to face an existential crisis even after seven decades of "unwavering commitment". Some other budget speeches have been delivered by prime minister's after political upheavals. In 1958-58, the Congress finance minister T. T. Krishnamachari had to resign based on corruption charges and Nehru had to perforce present the budget. In 1969, the Congress split and finance minister Morarji Desai parted ways with Indira Gandhi who had to present the budget. And in 1987, Rajiv Gandhi presented the budget as former loyalist and finance minister V. P. Singh declared a revolt in the aftermath of Bofors. Of course, who can forget Dr. Manmohan Singh quoting Victor Hugo in his 1991 budget speech.
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"According to custom, the Budget statement for the coming year has to be presented today. By an unexpected and unhappy chain of circumstances, the Finance Minister, who would normally have made this statement this afternoon, is no longer with us. This heavy duty has fallen upon me almost at the last moment....In the circumstances that we face today, I can only present before this House what might be called a pedestrian Budget statement, which is in the main a continuance of things as they are, with relatively minor changes, or such changes as naturally flow from what we did last year. "