Budget will change lives of the poor: Modi

Defending the Budget, Finance Minister Arun Jaitley said on Monday that it addresses the “harsh reality” of distress in rural India and the farm sector beleaguered by successive poor monsoons.

The Budget that has remained on the committed path of fiscal rectitude and includes a number of deep, though unglamorous structural reforms, addresses not only the structural reforms constituency but also the harsh realities of economic growth through allocations for the social (Rs. 1.51 lakh crore), agriculture (Rs. 35,984 crore), rural (Rs. 87,765 crore) and infrastructure sectors (Rs. 2,21 lakh crore), he said.

“Left-of-centre is a definition that the media gets stuck in….The budget is for the reality of India…the rural India is in distress and agriculture needs attention…in such harsh realities the first right of investment is that of social, rural, infrastructure and agriculture sectors,” Mr. Jaitley said, speaking to reporters after tabling the NDA Government’s third budget.

Prime Minister Narendra Modi said the “pro-village, pro-poor and pro-farmer” budget would make a qualitative change to the lives of those in the rural countryside.

“Several steps have been taken for the farmers. The most important is the Pradhan Mantri Krishi Yojana,” Mr. Modi said commenting on the budget.

Noting that electricity and roads are crucial for villages, he said by 2019, all villages of the country will be connected by roads, while all of them will be electrified by 2018.

“There has been a lot of politics over the poor, it is now time to make concentrated efforts to uplift them,” Mr. Modi said. The higher turnover limit under the presumptive taxation scheme to Rs. 2 crore will bring big relief to a large section of the middle class, he said.