Union Minister Arun Jaitley today said that the Narendra Modi government's budgetary move to exempt those with an annual income under Rs 5 lakh from the tax net will strengthen the country's middle class, enhancing their purchasing power to the advantage of the national economy.
In a Facebook blog posted from the United States soon after Finance Minister Piyush Goyal's presentation of the interim budget in parliament, Mr Jaitley listed out various achievements of the Modi government since its ascent to power nearly five years ago. "The political thrust through budgetary outlays, tax policy and legislative and administrative steps have been to create a government that is decisive, compassionate and clean. The economic reforms undertaken have unshackled the Indian economy, unleashed its potential and made us a global leader in growth," he wrote, adding that India has become the fastest growing major economy in the world under the BJP government.
Mr Jaitley was unable to present the interim budget because he had to go to the United States for medical treatment. It was tabled by Mr Goyal in his absence.
Underscoring his government's dedication to the country's middle class, Mr Jaitley described the various ways in which tax benefits were accorded to members of this section over the last four years. "Each budget tabled in Prime Minister Narendra Modi's government has brought significant relief to India's middle class... If all these benefits given to India's neo-middle class and middle class are added, a person earning about Rs 8 lakh a year can get away by paying almost no tax," he said.
In his nearly 3,000-word Facebook post, Mr Jaitley also cited a number of other achievements in areas such as economic growth, rural reforms, banking, Aadhaar enrolment, foreign direct investment and agriculture to drive home his point. Read the entire post here.
A tweet by Mr Jaitley earlier today had described the interim budget as a "pro-growth, fiscally prudent, pro-farmer and pro-poor" measure to further the Modi government's progressive agenda for the country. He also praised the budgetary move to deposit an annual grant of Rs 6,000 in the accounts of small and marginal farmers.