The Union budget was meant for the poor, and aimed at boosting small businesses and farm incomes and weeding out illegal cash holdings, Prime Minister Narendra Modi said on Wednesday.
Speaking on television minutes after the budget was presented in Parliament, Modi complemented finance minister Arun Jaitley.
“The finance minister has presented an ‘uttam’ budget, devoted to strengthening the hands of the poor,” the prime minister said. Elections in five states kick off from Saturday.
Modi said the budget had focussed on women’s empowerment, the housing sector and agriculture. “The budget was devoted to farmers, villagers and poor.”
He said small businesses would be helped by tax proposals – Jaitley slashed tax rates for small companies – and called the lowering of tax rates a brave move.
The finance minister slashed income tax rates for people with income between Rs 2.5 and 5 lakhs by five percentage points. “ the budget will help small businesses compete in a global environment.”
Modi also said the merger of the railway budget with the general budget – for the first time after 92 years – would give an impetus to the transport sector’s growth.