FM slams Oppn, says govt believes in inclusive growth

By IANS | Published: February 10, 2023 08:30 PM2023-02-10T20:30:05+5:302023-02-10T20:40:06+5:30

New Delhi, Feb 10 Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman was all fire and brimstone as she took on the ...

FM slams Oppn, says govt believes in inclusive growth | FM slams Oppn, says govt believes in inclusive growth

FM slams Oppn, says govt believes in inclusive growth

New Delhi, Feb 10 Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman was all fire and brimstone as she took on the opposition in Lok Sabha over lack of adequate funds for minorities welfare, MGNREGA and farmers, saying that it is wrong to say that the government is maintaining the path of fiscal consolidation at the cost of poor, here on Friday.

Replying to the discussion on Union Budget in the Lok Sabha, the Finance Minister said that fertiliser subsidy has been hiked by one-and-a-half times, adding that during the Congress-led UPA regime, only a handful of states took ration under National Food Security Act (NFSA), while Prime Minister Narendra Modi has provided free ration to the entire nation's poor during the Covid-19 pandemic.

Responding to opposition's allegations that food subsidy has been cut, Sitharaman said that it has been almost doubled to Rs 1.97 lakh crore.

"There's no reduction in food subsidy," she said.

"The cost of PM Gareeb Kalyan Yojana and public distribution system is being fully borne by the Centre," she added.

Rebutting the opposition's charge that no allocation has been made for the PM-KISAN scheme, the Finance Minister said that every eligible beneficiary of PM-KISAN will continue to get the benefit with the scheme providing them Rs 6,000 per year.

Sitharaman also said that the economy is in a sustained path, and India is still the fastest growing major economy in the world and will continue to be so in the years to come.

Defending the new tax regime, she said that by offering a rebate on annual income of up to Rs 7 lakh under it, the scheme will leave higher disposable income in the hands of people.

Sitharaman added that the Union Budget "astutely balances the requirement of development imperatives within the limits of fiscal prudence".

She also spoke about the employment opportunities offered by the government, saying that around 10 lakh jobs are being offered, with the interest of states being of paramount importance.

The agriculture credit target for the 2023-24 fiscal has been increased to Rs 20 lakh crore, she added.

The minister described the Budget for 2023-24 as a balanced one, with increased capital expenditure and ensured fiscal prudence.

Her entire 90-minute reply was peppered with sarcasm, cryptic one-liners and strong rebuttals.

Responding to opposition's charge of lack of allocation to welfare schemes like MGNREGA, minority affairs and cut in food subsidy in the Budget, Sitharaman took pot shot at Congress' leader in the House, Adhir Ranjan Chowdhury, and Assam MP Gaurav Gogoi.

"You should not be political about the poor when your own house is made of glass," she said.

Sitharaman also took jibes at Gogoi, saying that he was getting excited every time.

She was all charged up when the issue of reduced allocation for minority welfare was raised by Adhir Chowdhury.

Citing incidents of violence against minorities in Assam during Indira Gandhi's tenure as Prime Minister and the anti-Sikh riots of 1984, Sitharaman said did the Congress think of hiking their allocation when such incidents happened.

She accused the Congress of playing the minority appeasement card for vote-bank politics.

"We don't indulge in 'chacha-bhatija' culture, we give benefits to all irrespective of religion. This is Modi's government. We believe in 'Sabka Saath, Sabka Vikas, Sabka Vishwas and Sabka Prayas," Sitharaman said while taking a jibe at the Congress.

Disclaimer: This post has been auto-published from an agency feed without any modifications to the text and has not been reviewed by an editor

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