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National News

Feb 11, 2019

Lok Sabha passes Interim Budget

Lok Sabha on Monday passed the Interim Budget with voice vote amidst the din. 

The House also passed the Appropriation (Vote on Account) Bill 2019, Appropriation Bill 2019 and  Finance Bill 2019.

Replying to debate on the Interim Budget earlier, Finance Minister Piyush Goyal said that the country is going on the path of development ever since Narendra Modi came to power. 

He said the NDA government has worked tirelessly for every section of the society in the past five years and the Budget has taken care of all of them. 

Highlighting the economic achievements, the Minister said the NDA government has brought down the fiscal deficit to 3.4 per cent. He added that inflation has also come down to 2.19 per cent last December. Mr Goyal said the Budget has taken care of the middle class by giving them tax benefits.

He said Prime Minister Kisan Samman Nidhi will provide food security to the farmers. He said people who are belittling this provision fail to realise the value which six thousand rupees hold for the poor farmers. 

The Minister alleged that in its ten years, the UPA government did not make any special provisions for the farmers in the general budget. 

He said the NDA government has brought several schemes for farmers during its tenure. He pointed out that the government increased the Minimum Support Price of 22 crops by 1.5 times.

Mr Goyal said that in the 2014-15 interim budget, tax on SUV cars was brought down which benefited the rich class while in this budget, the government has given several benefits to common man. 

Terming the budget as an honest one, he said Prime Minister Narendra Modi wants honest budgets to become a habit in the country. He alleged that earlier, the UPA government made several promises in the Budget but did not fulfil them. 

He said NDA government will protect the honest and punish the dishonest. 

The Minister alleged that Congress is not able to digest the fact that the country’s economy has steadily become stronger in the past five years. Mr Goyal also rejected Opposition charge of terming the Budget as full-fledged. He emphasised that this is only an interim budget.

While Minister was replying, TDP and Congress members created noisy scenes in the House. TDP members were demanding special status for Andhra Pradesh while Congress pressed its demand for JPC probe in Rafale aircraft deal. 

Later, Congress members staged a walkout. Earlier, participating in the debate, M Thambidurai of AIADMK said the income support to farmers announced in the Budget is meagre, and it remains silent on employment scenario in the country.

He described the budget as BJP’s election manifesto. He said small businesses were hit by demonetization. He also requested the Central government to release the funds for various schemes and arrears of GST for Tamil Nadu.

Congress MP M. Veerappa Moily said, the budget allocation for defence sector is less as compared to last year’s budget. Mr Moily said, because of demonetization, the industrial output and MSME sector suffered a loss and the GDP rate also declined. 

He said, the unemployment rate is growing under the present government and is a matter of concern. Another Congress leader Shashi Tharoor said the annual benefit of 6000 rupees to farmers is a negligible amount. 

He said the crisis is serious in the overall farm situation. Professor Saugata Roy of TMC criticised the general budget terming it as vote oriented. He questioned the government track record on providing jobs alleging that unemployment is at an all-time high in the last 45 years. Mr Roy also criticised the government decision of demonetisation saying that it has taken lakhs of jobs and adversely affected the country’s economy. He also accused the government of weakening institutions like RBI. 

Jitendra Chaudhary of CPI(M) accused the government of manipulating data to show its success on the economic front. He said the general budget has nothing for the youth and alleged that the Centre has not taken any steps to fill up around 24 lakh pending vacancies in government departments.

Participating in the debate, Union Minister Jayant Sinha said due to ceaseless efforts of NDA government, India is now one of the best performing economies. 

He said due to effective policies and reforms, the Indian economy has been formalised and it is now one of the fastest growing economies of the world. Mr Sinha said there has been 18 per cent growth in direct tax and gross capital formation has gone up to 32 per cent. He also accused the previous UPA government of leaving the economy in poor condition and now under the leadership of Prime Minister Narendra Modi, it is back on track. 

He also listed government initiatives in various sectors including MUDRA scheme, construction of airports and electrification of villages.

Kirit Somaiya of BJP attacked Congress alleging that the grand old party is working to protect a family while Prime Minister Narendra Modi is working for the interest of 125 crore countrymen. Mr Somaiya also slammed TMC accusing it of shielding culprits of chit fund scam. 

He claimed that people will again pose their faith in the leadership of Narendra Modi during the Lok Sabha elections. The BJP leader attacked opposition unity saying their only aim is to remove Mr Modi from power.

AP Jitendra Reddy of TRS demanded more budget for Telangana. Ram Mohan Naidu of TDP, Ramesh Pokhriyal Nishank of BJP, Gajanan Chandrakant Kirtikar of Shiv Sena and others also participated in the debate.

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