Budget has villages, farmers at its heart: PM Modi

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Asserting that villages and farmers are at the heart of the Union Budget presented on Monday, Prime Minister Narendra Modi said it has put a lot of emphasis on strengthening the farming sector and increasing farmers’ income while making an allocation to further empower agriculture mandis.

In televised remarks after Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman presented the budget, Modi said it has many provisions for the agriculture sector, including for making loans easier for farmers.

His comments came amid long-running protests by a section of farmers against three agri laws, with protesting farmer unions demanding their repeal and the government insisting that they are for the good of farmers but offering to put them for 18 months.

Lauding the budget, Modi said one hardly comes across a budget that elicits so much positive response within an hour or two of its presentation, and noted that this was tabled under extraordinary circumstances when many experts were of the view that the government will put more burden on the common man.

The budget carries the vision of ‘Aatmanirbhar Bharat’ (self-reliant India) and lays a strong foundation as a new decade begins, he said.

“This budget has a feel of reality and confidence of development as well and showcases India’s self-belief. It will also infuse new confidence in the world in these difficult times,” he said, in reference to the Covid pandemic hitting the global economy hard.

“We have taken the approach of widening new opportunities for growth, creation of new opportunities for our youth, giving a new dimension to human resources, develop new sectors for infrastructure development, and moving towards technology and bringing new reforms in this Budget,” he said. It’s a pro-active budget that gives a boost to wealth as well as wellness, Modi said. This budget talks of all-around development for all parts of the country with a focus on southern and North East India besides Ladakh, he said, adding that it is a “big step” towards making coastal states like Tamil Nadu, Kerala and West Bengal a “business powerhouse”.

It is also aimed at boosting people’s ease of living by simplifying procedures and rules, and seeks to bring about positive changes for the infrastructure sector, industry, investors and individuals, the prime minister said. Expressing happiness that the transparency factor of the budget has been appreciated by experts, he said it budget doesn’t have an iota of “reactive” and has been “pro-active” with its focus on wealth as well as wellness.

Noting that the MSME sector allocation has been doubled to improve employment opportunities, Modi said the budget’s emphasis on research and innovation will help the youth. The common man and woman will benefit from stress on health, sanitation, nutrition, clean water and equality of opportunities while enhanced allocation in infrastructure and procedural reforms will lead to job creation and growth, he said.