Finance Minister responds to debate on Union Budget
Staff Reporter / New Delhi
Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman Wednesday said the government is committed to the path of fiscal consolidation.
Replying to a debate on the Union Budget 2019-2020 in the Lok Sabha, Ms Sitharaman said, it has set the target to keep fiscal deficit at 3.3 per cent of GDP against what was envisaged in the interim budget of 3.4 per cent without compromising on the requirements of public expenditure.
She said the total expenditure in the Budget is to the tune of 27 lakh 86 thousand 349 crore rupees which is an increase of over 3 lakh 44 thousand crore rupees than the budget estimates of 2018-19.
She said the current budget reflects the commitment of the government to substantially boost investment in agriculture, social sector, particularly in education and health.
Ms Sitharaman said the 15th Finance Commission is expected to give its report in October and November and the government will take the recommendations of the Commission on board in the next budget.
The Finance Minister said, projections made in the budget are realistic and adequately provides for items for expenditures such as defence, pensions and salaries, internal security and others. Ms Sitharaman said necessary resource mobilisations from tax and non-tax sources have also been envisaged to fully finance these expenditure commitments.
She said the government will move to GST Council to reduce the rate on e-vehicles from 12 per cent to 5 per cent. The Finance Minister said, to achieve the five trillion dollar economy target, the government has effectively planned to bring investment into the economy, manufacturing within India and generating jobs.
She said the government’s intention is to push infrastructure development and invest over 100 lakh crore rupees in the next five years. On the issue of doubling farmers’ income, the Finance Minister said, under the new Minimum Support Price policy, 22 commodities have been notified and their MSPs have been raised.
She said neem coated urea is being promoted and are being provided to all the farmers which have reduced the cost of cultivation. Finance Minister said that the allocation of MNREGA is at over 61 thousand rupees in this budget which entails an increase of 5,000 crore rupees over last year.
She also assured the House that the government believes in bringing transformational changes in India keeping in mind of the common man and people living in far-flung areas. Not satis fied with the Finance Minister’s reply, the members from Congress and TMC staged a walkout in the Lok Sabha.