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Tuesday, March 02, 2021

PM Modi: Votebank politics in Budgets earlier, we didn’t burden people

With an agitation against the new farm laws underway at the borders of Delhi for well over two months now, PM Modi listed the initiatives taken by his government over the past six years to make farmers self-reliant.

Written by Maulshree Seth | Lucknow |
Updated: February 5, 2021 5:30:58 am
Chauri Chaura, Narendra Modi, Uttar PradeshPrime Minister Narendra Modi (File Photo)

The Union Budget did not put any burden on the people, and it was different from Budgets of previous governments which converted the exercise into a “bahi khaata” (ledger) of vote bank calculations and a vehicle for making promises that were not fulfilled, Prime Minister Narendra Modi said on Thursday.

The thinking and approach of this government was very different, he said.

“Budget ke pehle kayi diggaj yeh keh rahe the ki desh ne itne bade sankat ka saamna kiya hai, isliye sarkar ko tax badhaana hi padega, desh ke aam nagrik pe bojh dalna hi hoga… Lekin is Budget mein deshwasiyon par koi bojh nahin badhaaya gaya, balki desh ko tezi se aage badhaane ke liye sarkar ne zyada se zyada kharcha karne ka faisla kiya… (Before the Budget, many experts were saying that the country has faced such a crisis (due to the pandemic), and the government would have no option but to tax common citizens more… But the Budget did not put any burden on the people of the country, instead the government took the decision to spend as much as possible to take the country ahead speedily…),” the Prime Minister said.

He was speaking by a video link at the inauguration of the centenary year celebrations of the Chauri Chaura incident of February 4, 1922, in Gorakhpur.

“Dashakon se hamare desh mein Budget ka matlab itna hi ho gaya tha kiske naam par kya ghoshna kar di gayi… Budget ko vote bank ke hisab kitab ka bahi khaata bana diya gaya tha… (For decades, the Budget had been about making announcements in someone’s name. The Budget had been turned into a ledger of votebank calculations),” Modi said.

But things have changed now, he said. “Ab desh ne woh soch badal di hai, approach badal di hai (The country has now given up that kind of thinking, it has changed that approach).”

With an agitation against the new farm laws underway at the borders of Delhi for well over two months now, Modi listed the initiatives taken by his government over the past six years to make farmers self-reliant.

Farmers, the PM said, have formed the basis of the country’s progress, and even during the pandemic, the agriculture sector had seen growth and record production.

The Budget would hasten the process of meeting the challenges thrown up by the Covid-19 pandemic, the PM said. India’s handling of the global health crisis had earned it praise worldwide, he said.

Pointing to the higher outlay for health in the Budget, the PM said the country was making efforts to strengthen medical facilities in villages and small towns, so that people would not have to rush to cities for treatment.

The PM also mentioned the planned expenditure on the broadening of roads, connecting villages to cities and local markets, construction of bridges and railway tracks, and improving education. The creation of new infrastructures would provide employment to the youth, he said.

Modi praised the efforts of the Uttar Pradesh government to highlight the freedom struggle and the martyrs of Chauri Chaura; these celebrations were significant considering the country is entering the 75th year of Independence, he said.

It was unfortunate that the martyrs of Chauri Chaura were not discussed prominently in history, he said, and asked people to remember the contributions of Baba Raghavdas and Madan Mohan Malviya, who he said saved 150 freedom fighters from being hanged by the British.

“What happened in Chauri Chaura 100 years ago was seen as a simple incident of arson. But its message was very wide… The fire was not only at the police station but in the hearts of Indians as well,” the Prime Minister said.

On February 4, 1922, a crowd of peasants set on fire the police station in Chauri Chaura, killing 22 policemen. A deeply disturbed Gandhi decided to stop the Non-Cooperation Movement, which he saw as having been tainted by unforgivable violence. The British hanged 19 people for the attack on the police station.

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