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Union Budget 2018 is development-friendly, will strengthen root of ‘new India’: PM Modi

Emphasising that the budget will create new opportunities for rural India, the Prime Minister said it would strengthen the vision of a ‘new India’.

india Updated: Feb 01, 2018 16:33 IST
Saubhadra Chatterji, Hindustan Times, New Delhi
Union Budget 2018,Arun Jaitley speech,PM Modi on budget
Prime Minister Narendra Modi listens as Union finance minister Arun Jaitley presents the Union budget in Parliament, in New Delhi on Thursday. (PTI )

Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Thursday hailed the last full budget of his government ahead of the general elections scheduled to be held next year as a major step to improve ease of business as well as ease of living for Indians.

Minutes after the finance minister Arun Jaitley tabled the budget in the Lok Sabha on Thursday, Modi spoke at length to emphasise on the key points of the budget to explain how it would help the people in different spheres of life.

“The budget will live up to the expectations of all Indians. It has ensured good prices for farmers and respect for the tax-paying citizen. This budget will strengthen the root of new India. From agriculture to infrastructure, all sectors got full attention. If the budget has health schemes to lessen the concerns of the middle class and the poor, it also has provisions to increase the wealth for small and medium industries,” the PM said in a video speech.

A year before facing the next general election, Modi tried to tickle the aspirations of common people—as he did in 2014 elections—and spoke about how this budget can shower benefits in different sectors.

“Employment opportunities will grow. From Grameen Bharat to Ayushman Bharat, Digital India to Start Up India, this budget will strengthen the hopes and aspirations of the common people,” the PM said.

He also praised Jaitley for presenting a “farmer-friendly, business-friendly and development-friendly” budget.

Holding a notebook, the PM narrated at length the steps taken for middle class, poor and rural population. “More saving for the middle class, better infrastructure for new India is the focus,” he said.

The Prime Minister frequently referred to the issue of job generation—a sore point of the National Democratic Alliance (NDA) government. While the opposition has repeatedly attacked the government over job losses and the lack of job creations, Modi pointed out that push for infrastructure will lead to job generation.

“In rural and agricultural sectors there is record allotment of Rs 14.5 lakh crore. 51 lakh new houses, 3 lakh km of roads, 2 crore toilets, 1.75 crore electricity connections—these measures will widen the scope of employment in rural India.”

Several opposition leaders, including Samajwadi Party (SP) national president Akhilesh Yadav, Delhi chief minister Arvind Kejriwal and Trinamool Congress’ Derek O’ Brien, said the budget was “disappointing”.

Congress leader P Chidambaram said Jaitley had failed the fiscal consolidation test that would have “serious consequences” on the economic growth rate.

The former finance minister tweeted that fiscal deficit limit of 3.2% in 2017-18 had been breached and was now estimated at 3.5%.

“For 2018-19 also against 3%, he (Jaitley) has fixed fiscal deficit at 3.3%,” Chidambaram said.

First Published: Feb 01, 2018 14:45 IST