Arun Jaitley, in whose absence stand-in Finance Minister Piyush Goyal presented the interim budget in 2019, on Friday elucidated every announcement made by his government in the final budget of its present tenure. Speaking upon which, Union Minister Arun Jaitley responded to the Opposition objections against the election budget and later went on to intricately lay down the details of the fiscal and farmer conditions of the country.
Union Minister questioned the loan waivers granted by the UPA, calling it a 'national hoax'.
He said, "What did the UPA do with 10 years in power? A one-time loan waiver of 70,000 crores. Only 52,000 crores were waived and the CAG report was that a significant part of that 52,000 crores went to traders and businessmen and not to farmers. A political party which came out with a national hoax of this kind has the audacity to say that a scheme like this at a pan India level is too little? For people who have done virtually nothing."
After responding to the opposition dissent, Arun Jaitley elucidated the growth of rural India and farmers during the NDA government and that the Congress government must not shed 'crocodile tears'.
He said, "Now look what we have done, rural roads are 91% completed. Rural housing, by 2022 everyone will have a roof. 98.7% of people in rural areas now have sanitation. every willing home is having electricity. Every poor man has switched over the cooking methods. The government is taking the burden of cheaper loans. Higher spending on irrigation, rural infrastructure. They get an indirect subsidy and support, a very large number of them are in Ayushmaan Bharat, so free healthcare. Right to food, cheap ration.
"Over and above all this, the Centre says when you buy your inputs, seeds and fertilizers I give you initial financial support. Loan waivers are never a solution in the farm sector problem in the long run and income support is. Please don't shed crocodile tears for the farmers. The Indian farmer is the producer of food and their productivity have improved. In the last few years, we have seen productivity. Four years ago, pulses were in shortage," he added.
The Union Minister taking a dig at the opposition said that reforms are needed for the problems of farmers rather than 'myopic slogans'
He said, "In last coming years, we have seen shortages producing into surpluses. The US is subsidizing is their farmers, the European Union is subsidising. Reforms are necessary for farmers' problem rather than myopic slogans. We believe the farm sector still needs support; Centre and States must come together and cooperate.
He further elaborated on how the middle class has grown and the fiscal deficit of the NDA government has been the best compared to any other government.
He said, "India's middle class is very vastly strengthened. In 2005 we had 18% middle class, in 2015 it was 29% and in 2025 it is projected to be 45%. You will see a large population of India is infiltrated in the middle class."
"No government since Independence has had a better record ofa fiscal deficit than ours. We had targeted 3.3% but because of farm susidaries, we made a 1% compromise. Because of all the anti-black money measures we too, because of the fact that after demonetisation and GST the average tax collection has been 15-18% a year. The budget announced is over 27 lakh crores, so the size of the budget is expanding," he added.
While elaborating on the fiscal growth, Jaitley refuted the claims that state no creation of jobs and secondly spoke of how demonetisation led to recordable transactions.
He said, "I need to address two disinformations, first is jobs if the economy is growing by 12% annual growth, I completely refute the argument that 12% nominal growth does not result in the creation of jobs. If no jobs are created there is social unrest, and no major social agitation has been witnessed in the last 5 years."
"Second argument, how did the GDP improve even after demonetisation. People were transacting substantially in cash and all this transaction chain went unrecorded, 86% into the banking system and now you have to give your credit card and have more recordable transactions and more digitisation leads to increase in GDP," he added.