As expected, Finance Minister Piyush Goyal presented election-eve interim budget targeting key sectors, particularly discontent sections providing big-reliefs. Asserting that inflation is a hidden and unfair tax on the poor and middle class, Goyal said the government has restrained the “back-breaking” inflation and brought it down to an average of 4.6 per cent. The government hailed the interim budget as pro-farmer, pro-poor and pro-middle class, and said that it will boost the development in the nation.
Prime Minister Narendra Modi said that the interim budget has taken care of all sections of the society and termed it a “trailer” ahead of the “budget which, after elections, will take India on the path to development”. “From middle class to labourers, from farmers’ growth to the development of businessmen, from manufacturing to MSME sector, from growth of the economy to development of New India, everyone has been taken care of in this interim budget,” he said.
Terming the budget as pro-poor and pro-farmer, the government took a dig at the Congress for criticising it as “BJP’s election manifesto” and said that “those sitting in AC rooms” cannot understand the plight of farmers.
Union Minister Arun Jaitley on Friday complimented Piyush Goyal for delivering an excellent pro-farmer, pro-poor budget which will also strengthen the purchasing power of the middle class.
Goyal, who was given the charge of the finance ministry temporarily recently, presented the Budget 2019-20 in absence of Jaitley, who is away in New York for medical treatment. “The Budget is unquestionably Pro-Growth, Fiscally prudent, Pro-Farmer, Pro-Poor and strengthens the purchasing power of the Indian Middle Class,” Jaitley said in a series of tweets. “Between 2014-19, every Budget has given significant relief to the Middle Class,” he added.
On the other hand, the Congress termed the interim budget as “BJP’s election manifesto”. Congress president Rahul Gandhi termed the budget as “Akhiri Jumla Budget” and targeted the government over the announcement of direct cash transfer of Rs 6,000 per year for marginalised farmers.
“Dear NoMo, 5 years of your incompetence and arrogance has destroyed the lives of our farmers. Giving them Rs. 17 a day is an insult to everything they stand and work for. #AakhriJumlaBudget,” he tweeted.
Terming it an “election budget”, former Prime Minister Dr Manmohan Singh said: “In these circumstances of the case, concessions to farmers and concessions to middle class will obviously have implications in the election.”
Former Union minister and Congress leader P Chidambaram said the Budget presented by Piyush Goyal was not interim, but a “full-fledged Budget accompanied by an election campaign speech”.
He called the budget “not a Vote on Account but an Account for Votes…by a government whose term will effectively end in about 90 days.” “The Interim Finance Minister (Piyush Goyal) tested our patience by the longest interim budget speech in the recent memory. By doing so, the government has trampled on time-honoured conventions,” he added.