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New Delhi: Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Monday congratulated Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman for her marathon 110-minute Budget speech and also inquired about her health soon after she completed her presentation.

The Finance Minister began her Budget speech at 11 a.m. for the third time in the National Democratic Alliance (NDA) government led by Prime Minister Modi. She concluded it after almost two hours, speaking about the prime features of the Budget without any fumbles.

In a clear and firm tone, Sitharaman announced various government plans aimed at boosting the domestic manufacturing sector, MSMEs and many more.

Drinking many glasses of water during her Budget speech, the Finance Minister completed it without taking rest at 12.50 p.m. -- part A at 12.25 p.m. and part B in the next 25 minutes.

This time, Sitharaman looked fresh compared to the previous year's Budget speech when she had thrown in the towel, as she sat down requesting the rest of the Budget may be taken as 'read'. Then, the harsh white fluorescent lights in the Lok Sabha bounced off her face, highlighting a faint trail of sweat.

Prime Minister Modi walked to Sitharaman's seat to thank her for her Budget 2021 presentation.

He was followed by Union Ministers Rajnath Singh, Amit Shah, Pralhad Joshi and other colleagues.

The MPs from Opposition parties also went to her seat to praise her for the long speech, asking if she was feeling any difficulty.

Responding to everyone, Sitharaman nodded with a smile, saying that she was fine and thanking them for their wishes.

The Budget comes at a time when India has been battling the coronavirus pandemic and the economy is reeling under the after-effects of the lockdown.

Union Budget 2021 Is A Progressive & Comprehensive Document: CAIT

The Confederation of All India Traders (CAIT) on Monday termed the Union Budget 2021 as a "progressive and comprehensive document".

"The Union Budget is a progressive and comprehensive document that ensures the structured development of every sector of the economy. It also brings relief to senior citizens from the burden of paying taxes. Also, developing the health sector and strengthening its services are its specialty," the CAIT said.

According to CAIT, no new tax has been imposed in the Budget, which makes it even more effective. Although there was speculation about fresh taxation since the last fortnight across the country, which has stopped now.

However, CAIT's National General Secretary Praveen Khandelwal does not agree with the Finance Minister over GST. "We disagree with the Finance Minister that GST has been rationalised, whereas on the contrary GST has become a highly complex tax system and does not have much to offer to small traders."

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