Former Prime Minister Manmohan Singh said the Bharatiya Janata Party-led government’s Union Budget promise to double farmers income by 2022 was not a feasible one, PTI reported on Friday. The plan will remain a “hollow assurance” until India achieves a 12% growth rate, Congress leader Ghulam Nabi Azad quoted Singh as saying.
The former finance minister and senior economist said the budget had several flaws. “I do not think I can blame the Budget for being motivated by scoring points in elections, but the fiscal arithmetic is at fault,” Singh told NDTV. “This budget is high on projecting a bright picture, but how will that be sustained [by the underlying the fiscal arithmetic].” Budget 2018 was the National Democratic Alliance government’s last full-year budget before the general elections in 2019.
“How will you meet the Minimum Support Price plus 50 [promise],” Singh said while questioning Finance Minister Arun Jaitley’s proposal to increase the crop price for farmers to one-and-a-half times the production cost.“The fiscal deficit seems to have increased,” the former prime minister said.
Earlier in the day, Singh said it was to be seen how the government would fulfill its promises. When questioned if the budget was reform-oriented, the former PM said the word reform has been used and abused too many times.
“I don’t want to comment on it,” he said, asking whether the farm crisis is a thing of the past and if not, what is the strategy to deal with it.
Source – The Scroll