Prime Minister Narendra Modi called the Budget a “trailer” of the Budget that will take India on the path to development after elections, while Union minister Arun Jaitley said it was “pro-growth and pro-farmer”.
Bharatiya Janata Party President Amit Shah said the Budget benefited all sections of the society and showed the Modi government’s dedication to the aspirations of the country’s youth, farmers and the poor, PTI reported.
In a video message, Modi said: “From middle class to labourers, from farmers’ growth to the development of businessmen, from manufacturing to MSME [micro, small and medium enterprises] sector, from growth of the economy to development of New India, everyone has been taken care of in this interim budget.”
Jaitley tweeted that the Budget expands spending “while pragmatically sticking to fiscal prudence”. He said the Budget marks “a high point in the policy directions that the government has given to this nation”.
The decision to exempt those earning up to Rs 5 lakh a year from income tax “effectively strengthens the great Indian middle class whose expansion of purchasing power holds the key for India’s future”, the finance minister said.
The mega pension scheme is “one more step in the direction of making India a greater pensioned society to ensure social security”, Jaitley added.
Jaitley is the government’s regular finance minister but Piyush Goyal was appointed earlier this month to serve in his absence as he is in the United States for medical treatment.
Budgets are an essential part of any parliamentary democracy and so are elections, ANI quoted Jaitley as saying.
“Pranab Mukherjee while replying to the 2009 interim budget announced a stimulus package where he reduced excise duty 2% across the board,” he said. “In 2014, P Chidambaram gave a duty rebate on a number of products, including engineering products and automobiles.”
Jaitley played down the Opposition’s criticism of the income-support package for farmers. “Please don’t shed crocodile tears today for farmers,” he added.
Amit Shah said the income tax rebate was historic, and the decision to provide farmers income support is a milestone towards meeting the target of doubling farm incomes by 2022.
Uttar Pradesh Chief Minister Adityanath said all sections of the society – farmers, the middle class, the poor and women – were mentioned in the Budget, ANI reported.
Union minister Ram Vilas Paswan dubbed the interim Budget a “surgical strike on the Opposition”. “This is the second surgical strike,” PTI quoted Paswan as saying. “First surgical strike was when our soldiers fought with bullets at the border and it will be the ballot this year. The budget will benefit farmers.”
Maharashtra Chief Minister and BJP leader Devendra Fadnavis called the Budget “a gift to farmers, labourers, women and middle class of India”. He added, “The defence budget was enhanced beyond Rs 3 lakh crore, a first in history of India. Statesmen don’t talk about only 1 year. The Budget has created a blueprint of India of 2030.”
Bihar Chief Minister Nitish Kumar hailed the decision to transfer Rs 6,000 directly to farmers. “It will strengthen [the] economic conditions of rural areas,” he said. “Also, I welcome [the] decision of tax rebate for taxpayers with annual income up to Rs 5 lakh. It’ll give relief to middle-class.”
BJP leader Sudhanshu Trivedi took a jibe at P Chidambaram for saying that the Budget was an account for votes. “I want to tell Chidambaram sahab that we don’t do politics to form government but to make the nation,” said Trivedi. “PM had not taken such strong decisions in last 4 years if we had only cared about votes.”
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