Arun Jaitley packs in a challenge for opposition in defence of farm income plan

Updated on Feb 01, 2019 11:51 PM IST

Union minister Arun Jaitley hit out at the opposition Congress over its criticism on the budget and asked it not to shed crocodile tears for farmers.

Union minister Arun Jaitley hit out at the opposition Congress over its criticism on the budget and asked it not to shed crocodile tears for farmers.(PTI)
Union minister Arun Jaitley hit out at the opposition Congress over its criticism on the budget and asked it not to shed crocodile tears for farmers.(PTI)
Hindustan Times, New Delhi | ByHT Correspondent

Union minister Arun Jaitley on Friday hit out at the opposition Congress over its criticism on the budget and asked it not to shed crocodile tears for farmers.

“Please don’t shed crocodile tears today for farmers. If opposition also has several governments, let them announce similar schemes. I’m sure other governments will also consider this,” Jaitley told news agency ANI in an interview in New York.

He was asked about the opposition’s criticism on budget announcement of 6,000 per year for farmers having up to 2 hectares of land. The scheme aims to support around 12 crore farmers in the country.

Congress president Rahul Gandhi had earlier dubbed the announcement “an insult” to farmers.

“Dear NoMo, 5 years of your incompetence and arrogance has destroyed the lives of our farmers. Giving them Rs. 17 a day is an insult to everything they stand and work for,” Rahul wrote on Twitter.

Jaitley pointed out that the Congress-led UPA had announced 70,000 crores as farm loan waiver but had spent only 52,000 crores. He also noted that out of this 52,000 crores, the CAG had found that a significant part of money went to traders and businessmen and not to farmers.

“Now look at what we’ve been doing. Rural roads — 91% completed. Rural housing, by 2022, everyone will have a roof. 98.7% people in rural areas now have sanitation. Every willing home is having electricity. Every man has switched over cooking methods,” he said.

Finance minister Piyush Goyal did hit back with a veiled dig at Rahul. “Never before has small farmers received such government assistance. People belonging to dynasties and living in AC rooms don’t understand the suffering of a farmer who owns a small piece of land,” he said.

On criticism on demonetization, Jaitley said there are more digital and recordable transactions.

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