PM Modi Says Farm-Friendly Budget, With 'World's Biggest Health Plan'

PM Narendra Modi congratulated Finance Minister Arun Jaitley and his team for "development-friendly" Budget 2018

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PM Modi Says Farm-Friendly Budget, With 'World's Biggest Health Plan'

Budget 2018: PM Narendra Modi congratulated Finance Minister Arun Jaitley for "all-friendly" budget

New Delhi: 

The Budget 2018 is "friendly" for all and will "strengthen the foundation of a new India", Prime Minister Narendra Modi said, adding that the budget has devoted attention to all sectors, ranging from agriculture to infrastructure to health.

"This budget is farmer friendly, common citizen friendly, business environment friendly and development friendly. It will add to ease of living," said PM Modi, who was seen thumping the desk as Finance Minister Arun Jaitley spoke in parliament.

Referring to Mr Jaitley's announcement that the Minimum Support Price for notified kharif crops will be 1.5 times the input cost, PM Modi said, "I congratulate the Finance Minister for the decision regarding MSP. I am sure it will help farmers tremendously." He stressed that the budget will create new opportunities for rural India.

PM Modi, who congratulated Mr Jaitley and his team for "development-friendly" budget, said his "government will soon announce concrete steps to address NPA and 'stress account' issues for micro, small and medium enterprises (MSME) sector".

The prime minister said the budget devotes attention to all sectors, ranging from agriculture to infrastructure.

For rural infrastructure and extra support for farmers, Finance Minister Arun Jaitley, in his budget speech said that around 14.34 trillion rupees ($225.50 billion) would be allocated. 

Mr Jaitley also announced plans to introduce "the world's largest government funded health care programme", saying it would cover some 500 million of the country's poorest people. He went on to lay out plans to merge three public sector insurance companies and list the new entity.

Finance Minister Jaitley switched from English to Hindi as he outlined schemes to promote agriculture, organic farming, animal husbandry and fisheries, ensuring that his message got through to rural communities.

He, however, has made no changes in income tax slabs for individuals this year. But all salaried people will get a standard deduction of Rs. 40,000 on their income in lieu of medical and transport reimbursements.

(with inputs from agencies)

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