First published: February 1, 2017, 11:44 AM IST | Updated: 13 mins ago
Finance minister Arun Jaitley presenting budget in the Parliament.
New Delhi: RURAL India seems to be the star of Finance Minister Arun Jaitley’s budget speech so far with a heavy emphasis on NREGA, PMGSY and steps at boosting agricultural income.
Arun Jaitley gave early hints in his budget speech that there is likely to be a heavy boost for infrastructure, job creation and for the digital economy.
Expectations were rife that the Narendra Modi government will announce a populist budget given the fact that five states are going to assembly polls later this month. Measures aimed at soothing the adverse impact of demonetization are also expected.
As if on cue, he hiked the NREGA outlay to Rs 48,000 crore, which he claimed as the highest ever, triggering some murmurs in the Opposition benches. The total allocation on rural, agricultural and allied sectors is 24% higher than last year.
The “bold and decisive” measure of demonetization, as the finance minister called it today, was announced by Prime Minister Narendra Modi in a surprise address to the nation on November 8. The move to scrap overnight 86% of the value of total cash in the system was panned by Opposition, prominent economists and the international media that called it a “self-imposed cash crisis.”
In his speech, Jaitley claimed the harsh effects of demonetization would not spill over to the next financial year.
Jaitley said he themed the budget around key points: To double farmer’s income in 5 years, Social security for housing security for poor, Digital economy for transparency and accountability, tax administration honouring the honest, Total kharif and rabi area has increased, Agriculture sector will grow at 4.1% in current year, Agricultural credit at rs 10 lakh crore.