Business Standard

Budget hits a sweet spot, says PM Modi

‘Interim Budget would empower four pillars of developed India’

- ARCHIS MOHAN New Delhi, 1 February

Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Thursday said the interim Budget will empower the four pillars of developed India, namely, the youth, the poor, women and farmers.

He listed some proposals for the middle class, such as rooftop solarisati­on and “income tax remission” under which the government will withdraw old disputed direct tax demands.

In a televised address in the afternoon, the PM said the Budget sought to control the fiscal deficit and provided for a historical increase in the total capital expenditur­e at ~11.11 trillion.

“In economists’ parlance, it is the Budget’s sweet spot,” Modi said.

Describing the document as “Nirmala ji's Budget,” the PM said it offered the “guarantee” of strengthen­ing the foundation of building a developed India by 2047 and carried the “confidence of continuity.”

He stated the Budget was inclusive and innovative and honoured a young India's buoyant aspiration­s.

The PM said the Budget was “not merely an interim Budget but an inclusive and innovative one”. Two Budget proposals — a ~1-trillion corpus for research and innovation and rebates for start-ups — will create innumerabl­e employment opportunit­ies for India's youth. It will also lead to the creation of modern infrastruc­ture.

The Budget, the PM said, has reached out to the poor and middle class as there will be 40,000 Vande Bharat quality train coaches and 20 million more houses for the urban and rural poor.

In this context, Modi said the government sets big goals, achieves them, and then sets even bigger targets for itself.

He added that the Centre had constructe­d 40 million houses under the PM Awas Yojana in the last 10 years.

The PM said the income tax remission scheme will provide relief to 10 million people belonging to the middle class. He accused previous government­s of using these pending tax cases as a sword hanging over the heads of the country’s common citizens.

He spoke of the rooftop solar campaign, the PM Suryodaya Yojana, where 10 million families could avail free electricit­y.

Further, they could earn ~15,000-18,000 annually by selling excess electricit­y to the government.

Listing the pro-women schemes of the Budget, the PM included Aanganwadi and ASHA workers under the Ayushman Bharat health insurance scheme.

“Our goal was to make 20 million ‘lakhpatis’ among women. This goal has been increased to make 30 million lakhpatis,” he said.

The PM said the Budget had taken several measures for farmers’ welfare, including the proposed expansion of the PM Matsya Sampada Yojana to boost the fisheries sector.

There is also the ‘Atmanirbha­r’ oil seed campaign to make India selfrelian­t in edible oils by increasing the domestic output of oilseeds and launching a comprehens­ive programme to support dairy farmers. He also said the applicatio­n of nano-liquid DAP (di-ammonium phosphate), a key fertiliser, will be expanded to all agroclimat­ic zones.

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