February 13, 2021 1:42:24 am
FINANCE MINISTER Nirmala Sitharaman on Friday defended the Budget in the Rajya Sabha, saying it provided stimulus to the economy for a sustainable high growth rate.
Replying to a debate on the Budget, she said economies have suffered all over the world because of the pandemic. “The attempt was made in this Budget to provide stimulus, provide a strong stimulus and provide such a stimulus which can bring in that kind of a multiplier effect and, therefore, instead of finding quick short-term solutions even as we provide short-term quick relief for those people who so desperately need it, we are also looking at medium-term and long-term sustainable growth which will keep India in that kind of a growth trajectory which will maintain us as one of those fastest-growing economies in the world,” she said.
Sitharaman said it was a Budget that draws on the “experience, the administrative capacities and also the exposure that the Prime Minister has had during his long elected tenure both as Chief Minister and as Prime Minister of this country, known for his commitment towards development, growth and reforms”.
On the Opposition’s allegations of “cronyism”, and that this was a Budget “for the rich”, Sitharaman said: “I just want to come up with some details before I get into some of the details in the Budget to say that under PM Awas Yojana, Sir, more than 1.76 crore houses have been completed. Is that for the rich? Households which are being electrified under Saubhagya since 2017 October, are more than 2.67 crores. Is that for the rich? Total value of orders placed on government emarket place, it is Rs 8,22,077 crore, which is more than eight trillion of rupees. Are they being given to big companies? They are being given to MSMEs.”
“So, we have helped out small and medium companies to ensure themselves getting a market. Is that for the rich and the big capitalists? The length of the roads sanctioned under Pradhan Mantri Gram Sadak Yojana, strictly between 2014-15, is 2,11,192 km. Those roads go to villages. Are these villages only for the rich? Or are these the villages where the people belonging to the lower sections of society also live?”
Minister of State for Finance Anurag Thakur also countered the Opposition’s allegations in his speech. He said the Budget will help make the country atmanirbhar or self-reliant. Unlike the government led by Prime Minister Manmohan Singh, he said, there was no corruption charge against the Modi government. “Doctor saab [referring to Singh] was an honest man but there was no department under him where there was no corruption,” he said. Thakur also blamed the Congress for “sinking” Air India.
He reiterated that his party was committed to doubling farmers’ income and that the new farm laws do not threaten the mandi system and MSP.
BJP’s Bhupendra Yadav too asserted that the new farm laws were meant to reform the agricultural sector. “The three farm laws will bring new life to the rural economy,” he said.
BJP’s Rajeev Chandrashekhar said: “This Budget signals that the worst economic crisis that India has faced in centuries is behind it, and it marks an inflection point in the roadmap that the Prime Minister has laid out to expansion and prosperity.”
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