Budget boosts investments without compromising on fiscal consolidation roadmap: Sitharaman in RS

New Delhi: Replying to general discussion on Budget in Rajya Sabha, Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman on Friday said that the budget would boost the investment without compromising on fiscal consolidation roadmap.

She said, “The Budget boosts investments without compromising on fiscal consolidation roadmap. Centre’s net tax revenue for 2019-20 is Rs 16.49 lakh crore, which is up by 11.13 per cent over the previous year.”

Sitharaman, who presented her first Budget on July 5, also hit out at former finance minister P Chidambaram for his jibe at government’s call for making India a $5 trillion economy.

She argued that the big picture presented in the Budget was backed with a plan and comprehensive steps have been envisaged for the next 10 years.

She further said every estimate projection that has been given is realistic. “When we say we have a vision for India, it’s not without a plan. And the plan is to increase investment coming into the country,” she said.

She said the target of the government to make India a USD 5 trillion economy was not ‘without a plan’ and hit out at Chidambaram, who was not present in the house, for calling it “simple arithmetic” and “magic of compounding”.

“Is that why during UPA, no attention was given to the economy but scandals were going on. All attention there. Economy will anyway double in every five years. Don’t bother and concentrate on increase on personal income,” she said amid opposition by Congress members.

“What is this sir. What is former finance minister trying to imply,” she said asking the Congress why it failed to double the economy in the first 60 years of the country.

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The Minister said: “The inflation rate, the depreciation of the currency and the exchange rate…so many things will have to be managed so that country’s economy doubles …It is not that easy that only the money lender will keep an account.”

She also gave point-by-point rebuttal of the charges levelled by Chidambaram, especially calling the government’s tax collections including income tax and GST targets and projections as ‘unrealistic’.

“All these are very realistic. We will absolutely receive these targets,” Sitharaman said questioning Chidambaram’s figure and its source.

Responding to the former Finance Minister’s attack that “bold” decisions or “structural reforms” were missing from the Union Budget to fast-track growth despite a huge mandate, she said GST was the biggest reform that the BJP government took.

She also hit at Congress for putting obstacles in passing the GST Bill and Rahul Gandhi calling it ‘Gabbar Singh Tax’.

On charges over farm distress, Sitharaman said the strategies adopted by the government to double farmers income was based on the Committee’s recommendations.

The minister also said that the government successfully managed to control inflation which is at its lowest now.

(With ANI inputs)

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