Budget development-friendly, will strengthen ‘new India’

New Delhi, Feb 1  Terming the Union budget for 2018- 19 “development-friendly”, Prime Minister Narendra Modi said today that it has focused on the needs of the rural areas and will strengthen the vision of a ‘new India’.

He said the budget has devoted attention to all sectors, ranging from agriculture to infrastructure and is “farmer- friendly, common citizen-friendly, business environment- friendly and development-friendly.”

In his first reaction after the presentation of the budget, Modi congratulated Finance Minister Arun Jaitley and his team while emphasising that the budget prepared by them will create new opportunities for rural India.

“It will give pace to the development of the country…the government is focused not just on ‘ease of doing business’ but also on ‘ease of living’,” he said.

This is the NDA government’s last full-fledged budget before the 2019 Lok Sabha.

Detailing the various schemes of his government, including the construction of toilets and initiatives in the areas of housing, power and health for all, the prime minister emphasised that the budget devotes attention to all sectors, ranging from agriculture to infrastructure.

The budget, he said, will add to ‘ease of living’ and ‘ease of doing business’.

He also said that the government will soon announce concrete steps to address non-performing assets (NPA) and ‘stress account’ issues for the micro, small and medium enterprises (MSME) sector.

“For a long time, MSMEs faced a lot of burden on the tax front. In this budget, we have also reduced the corporate taxes that MSMEs owe. Now, they have to pay only 25 per cent tax instead of 30 per cent,” he said.

Modi said the ‘Ayushman Bharat’ scheme will allow the poor to receive up to Rs five lakh per annum for treatment in select hospitals.

“It will help them get rid of the worry of incurring cost to get quality treatment. It will help 10 crore families (45- 50 crore people),” he said.

This, Modi noted, is the biggest government-funded health assurance scheme in the world.

The prime minister said the new infrastructure such as new airports, ports, railway tracks, metro projects will generate new employment opportunities.

“This Budget strengthens the hopes of 1.25 crore Indians…our farmers have produced record grains and vegetables. To strengthen farmers further, we have taken several important steps,” Modi said.

He said the government’s welfare schemes will have a direct benefit for the Dalits, poor and backward citizens who are standing on the fringes of the society.

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