‘Replacing Old Political…’: N Sitharaman’s Slip Of Tongue Prompts Laughter Amid Budget Presen

Union Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman presented Budget 2023 in Parliament on Wednesday. This was Sitharaman’s fifth consecutive budget presentation as Finance Minister of the country and Narendra Modi-led government’s final Budget ahead of the 2024 general elections.

But as the Finance Minister was trying to meet public expectations with her Budget 2023-24 speech in the Lok Sabha, she mixed the word ‘polluting’ with ‘political’ as she talked about replacing old polluting vehicles as part of her government’s policy to boost green energy.

“Vehicle replacement is an important ongoing policy,” she said, “Replacing old political…sorry old polluting vehicles will be a priority…” said Sitharaman, as the parliamentarians broke into laughter.

And as the Opposition shouted to point out the mistake, Sitharaman also seemed to find humour in the situation.

“I know…absolutely…” the Finance Minister said with a smile.

Then correcting herself she said, “Replacing old polluting vehicles is an important part of greening our economy.”

“In furtherance of our scrapping policy, I have allocated adequate funds to scrap old vehicles of the Centre and State government. States will be supported in replacing old vehicles and ambulances,” Sitharaman added.

The government’s policy of phasing out unfit and polluting vehicles in order to promote a circular economy will come into effect from April 1, 2023 .

All vehicles owned by central and state governments, including buses owned by transport corporations and public sector undertakings, that are older than 15 years will be de-registered and scrapped, according to a notification by the Road Transport and Highways Ministry, reported PTI.

Nirmala Sitharama’s budget 2023 speech lasted for 86 minutes, her shortest so far. Last year, she clocked 92 minutes, while in 2021, she spoke for an hour and 50 minutes.

It was the last full Budget of the Modi Government before the 2024 general elections.