Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Friday termed the Union Budget as one that would benefit all sections of society, adding that it was just a “trailer” of India’s path to prosperity after the Lok Sabha elections of 2019.
“The Budget will empower the poor, give a boost to the farmer and an impetus to the economic growth,” he said, adding, “our neo-middle class is rising and so are their dreams ... Interim Budget a trailer for what will take India towards prosperity after Lok Sabha polls,” he said in a televised statement. Enumerating on the details of the Budget, Mr. Modi said more than 12 crore farmers, three crore middle class families and 30-40 crore workers employed in unorganised sector would benefit from the Budget, adding that poverty has been falling at a record rate due to the efforts of his government.
“This Budget will boost the efforts of 130 crore citizens in realising the goal of a new India,” Mr. Modi said.
He said the development initiatives of the NDA government have touched several lives, which have been reflected in the Budget proposals from farmer welfare to middle class, from income tax relief to infrastructure, from manufacturing to MSME, from housing to healthcare and from the increased pace of development to the New India.
He congratulated the middle class for the relief in taxes and said he saluted it for its contribution towards the development of the nation.
He said PM Kisan Nidhi was a historic step for farmer welfare, which would help the farmers with less than five acres of land. He added that the animal husbandry and fisheries sectors have been taken care of in the Budget.
Underlining the importance of safeguarding the interests of the unorganised sector, he said Pradhan Mantri Shram Yogi Man Dhan Yojana would be of great help. This sector needed more safeguarding of their interests and the Budget had done so, he said.
Finance Minister Piyush Goyal’s maiden Budget speech ran to over an hour and forty minutes.
As he began his speech, it was Home Minister Rajnath Singh who urged treasury benchers to thump their desks in support, for the acting Finance Minister, thrust into an unfamiliar role. Mr. Modi, too, was seen thumping his desk in encouragement at some of the early rhetorical flourishes of the speech, with other BJP MPs yelling “wah, wah” .
These were just early hiccups, with Mr. Goyal gaining confidence with each announcement, as he unveiled one sop after another for farmers, unorganised sector workers, and finally the tax proposals.
The tax exemption announcements prompted the treasury benches to burst out into a chant of “Modi! Modi!” for nearly two minutes before order could be restored. The only light interjection on Mr. Goyal’s behalf was the mention that he had watched the film Uri on the 2016 surgical strike across the border, just before he announced some sops for the Indian film industry.