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"Replacing Old Political...err Polluting Vehicles": Parliament Erupts In Laughter Over FM Sitharaman's Freudian Slip FM Nirmala Sitharaman inadvertently misspoke a word in her Union Budget 2023 address, uniting old ideological foes in Parliament in a common laugh riot

By Soumya Duggal

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Finance minister Nirmala Sitharaman

Presenting India's union budget before the country's elected and electors is no mean task. The constant ebb and flow of the supportive table 'tapping' by the members of the ruling party and the disruptive vocal protestations by the opposition can erode the attention of even the most eloquent orator, especially one given to ignoring the economy of words for the economy of the country.

However, even in the course of her shortest Budget speech thus far, finance minister Nirmala Sitharaman fell prey to the human error of misreading a word in the text of her Union Budget 2023 address, uniting old ideological foes in Parliament in a common laugh riot.

As she enlisted the past achievements and future aspirations of the Modi government, Sitharaman began to say, "Replacing old political...," before immediately correcting herself and stating, "Replacing old polluting vehicles is an important part of greening our economy." Her Freudian slip—an inadvertent error that reveals one's subconscious feelings—momentarily overshadowed the argument she was trying to make about curtailing air pollution by obliterating old, polluting vehicles from Indian roads.

Though, to her credit, she took the lapse in her stride, admitting her mistake with a smile while continuing to labour the point: "In furtherance of the vehicle scrapping policy mentioned in Budget 2021-22, I have allocated adequate funds to scrap old vehicles of the Central Government. States will also be supported in replacing old vehicles and ambulances." Soon, her chortling colleagues settled down to hear the finance minister's proposal for the country's fiscal future.

Soumya Duggal

Former Feature Writer

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