New Delhi, Feb 1: From Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman reading out her 110-minute speech from a tablet to seating arrangements in tune with pandemic times, there were quite a few firsts during the presentation of the 2021-22 Union Budget in the Lok Sabha on Monday.

Also, for the first time, the Budget went paperless and members were provided soft copies of the speech and documents.

Clad in a red and cream-hued saree with patterns, Sitharaman continued with the practice of carrying the red-coloured bahi khata. Only that this time around, tablet replaced papers in the red bag.

Unlike earlier occasions, the minister stood in the second row of the Treasury benches as she read out the speech from a tablet placed on a short lectern. During the 110-minute long speech, she paused a few times to sip water and a plate with candies was kept near the lectern.

It was also the shortest speech by Sitharaman, who had delivered the longest speech last year. Her first Budget speech in July 2019 went on for around 137 minutes and in 2020, it went on for more than 160 minutes and was cut short after she felt unwell. – PTI