Reacting to the National Sample Survey Organisation (NSSO) job survey of 2017-18 that records a surge in the unemployment rate to over 6 per cent, a 45-year high, Finance Minister Arun Jaitley on Friday said that it is not a report but a draft which has not been approved.
Speaking to news agency ANI, Jaitley said, “Let me clear the disinformation here. If our average real GDP growth is 7.5 per cent and inflation is 4.5 per cent, which at the moment is 2.19 per cent, then our nominal growth adding the two is about 11.5 to 12 per cent. If the economy is growing at 12 per cent nominal growth for the last five years, it would be an economic absurdity to say that such a large economic growth, the highest in the world, doesn’t lead to the creation of jobs.”
“If no job creation takes place then there is social unrest. This has been a peace period where no major social agitation has been witnessed in the last five years,” he added.
Jaitley also castigated the Congress for criticising interim Budget 2019, especially the proposed Rs 75,000 crore Pradhan Mantri Kisan Samman Nidhi scheme which would provide financial aid of Rs 6,000 per year to small scale farmers.
“What did the UPA do in their 10 years in power? They announced a one-time loan waiver of Rs 70,000 crores of which only Rs 52,000 crores were waived off. A CAG report was that out of that Rs 52,000 crore, a significant part of money went to traders and businessmen and not to farmers,” Jaitley said.
“Please don’t shed crocodile tears today for farmers. If the Opposition also has several governments, let them announce similar schemes. I am sure other governments will also consider this,” he added.
Stressing that the Centre and states need to cooperate for the farmers, Jaitley said, “This is a huge amount that we are doing. We are now as against the one-time loan waiver of Rs 52,000 crores. This is Rs 75,000 crores in the first year itself. I am sure it will expand in future years.”
Speaking of the work done in the last five years under the NDA government, Jaitley said, “Look at what we’ve been doing. Rural roads have been completed by 91 per cent. By 2022, everyone will have a roof over their heads. Around 98.7 per cent people in rural areas now have sanitation, every willing home is having electricity, every man has switched over the cooking methods.”
On the questions over the Budget being a last attempt to woo the voters before the Lok Sabha polls later this year, Jaitley said, “In 2009 Pranab Mukherjee announced stimulus package where he reduced excise duty 2% across the board. The same argument was available then.”
Jaitley, who is in the US for his treatment, did not present the budget this year. Interim Finance Minister Piyush Goyal presented the Budget in his absence.