Haryana chief minister Manohar Lal Khattar welcomed Union finance minister Arun Jaitley’s budget 2017 proposals, describing them as “big, bold and reformist” measures aimed at giving a decisive push to demand and digitisation.
Khattar, who heads the first-ever Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) government in the state, praised Jaitley’s initiative to bring transparency in political funding by making the political parties file income tax returns and substantially lowering the amount of maximum cash donation received by any party from one source to Rs 2000 from Rs 20,000.
He lauded measures such as allocation of Rs 10 lakh crore for farm credit by banks, setting up of an irrigation fund, creation of Rs 8000-crore Dairy Processing Infra Fund and expansion of the national agriculture market as steps in the right direction. “These initiatives will give the farmers, agriculture and the allied sector, the much needed boost,” said the chief minister.
Vishul Goyal, the president of Haryana Chamber of Commerce and Industry, said the clear message from the budget was the government’s intention to energise the economy by taking measures to ensure more money in the hands of people and higher spending. “Higher public spending in rural sector and investment in infrastructure projects will create more demand leading to job creation,” he told HT.
However, Desh Raj (55), a farmer from Karnal, wasn’t impressed with the Union finance minister’s raft of measures. “I had high expectations from the finance minister, but there is nothing much for the farming community. The focus appears to be on cheaper loans. Loans alone do not help. The government needs to ensure assured income by fixing minimum support price (MSP) for all crops and vegetables 50% over and above the production cost, he said.
Ankit Nandal, a student of Maharishi Dayanand University in Rohtak, was another naysayer. “The government is talking about skill development, but there’s no well-defined road map for job creation. Rather, as an aftereffect of demonetisation, the job scenario has become dismal. The government is in denial mode, forget finding any solution,” he complained.