Union Minister Arun Jaitley, who is away in the US for medical treatment, has described the Interim Budget as "pro-growth, fiscally prudent, pro-farmer and pro-poor" and one that gives more purchasing power to the Indian middle class.
The Budget, presented by fellow cabinet minister Piyush Goyal today, expands spending and furthers the agenda of the government headed by Prime Minister Narendra Modi to address the challenges of the economy, the Union minister said in a series of tweets.
The Budget is unquestionably Pro-Growth, Fiscally prudent, Pro-Farmer, Pro-Poor and strengthens the purchasing power of the Indian Middle Class.- Arun Jaitley (@arunjaitley) February 1, 2019
Referring to "no tax on incomes up to Rs 5 lakh", Mr Jaitley said that all budgets presented by the government since 2014 have been pro-middle class.
"Between 2014-19, every Budget has given significant relief to the Middle Class. The Budget expands spending while pragmatically sticking to fiscal prudence," he said.
The Interim Budget presented by Shri Piyush Goyal today marks a high point in the policy directions that the Government headed by Prime Minister Shri Narendra Modi has given to this nation. @narendramodi@PiyushGoyal- Arun Jaitley (@arunjaitley) February 1, 2019
Those who earn up to Rs 5 lakh a year do not have to pay tax and standard deduction has been raised to Rs 50,000.
The Interim Budgets, Mr Jaitley emphasised, allow the governments to introspect.
He tweeted, "Interim Budgets are also an opportunity for the government of the day to introspect their performance of the last five years and place its facts before the people."
The Budget also featured a huge giveaway for farmers. Small and marginal farmers who have less than two acres will get Rs 6,000 in their bank accounts in a year under the PM-Kisan Yojana. The programme will cost the government Rs 75,000 crore.
A pension scheme for workers in the unorganised sector with a monthly income of up to Rs 15,000 was also announced. These workers will have an assured monthly pension of Rs 3,000 after they retire at 60.
But the Congress called the budget a "damp squib". "We've seen one good thing that is tax exemption for the middle class. Rs 6,000 in income support for farmers boils down to Rs 500 per month. Is that supposed to enable them to live with honour and dignity?" said Congress leader Shashi Tharoor.
Congress chief Rahul Gandhi added that "giving them (farmers) Rs 17 a day is an insult to everything they stand and work for".
Dear NoMo,- Rahul Gandhi (@RahulGandhi) February 1, 2019
5 years of your incompetence and arrogance has destroyed the lives of our farmers.
Giving them Rs. 17 a day is an insult to everything they stand and work for. #AakhriJumlaBudget