Budget 2018: Modi chants vikas mantra
New Delhi, Jan 20: There is a lot of buzz surrounding the upcoming Union Budget 2018. The budget will be presented by Union finance minister Arun Jaitley on February 1.
The upcoming budget will be the last full budget of the Narendra Modi government. The budget in 2019 will only be a vote-on-account. The voters are expecting various largesses and reliefs from the kitty of the finance minister.
Talking about the plans for the budget, Prime Minister Modi in an interview to Zee TV on Friday said that the ruling Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) government's only agenda for the budget is vikas (development).
"My government has only one agenda for the budget--and that is development. And that's what you will see," Modi said.
The budget holds great political importance for the Modi government as it is going to be the last one before the all-important 2019 Lok Sabha elections.
If Modi, Jaitley and the team BJP manage to come up with a budget with equal amount of largesses and relief measures for various sectors, including agriculture and manufacturing industries, to bring stability to the economy, it will directly translate into votes in the next General elections for the ruling dispensation at the Centre.
The Modi government has faced flak over its various economic policies including lack of jobs, rise in price hike of essential items and fuels, demonetisation and the Goods and Services Tax (GST).
In the interview, Modi spoke about the controversial financial decisions taken by his government since coming to power in 2014.
The PM defended his government's decisions and stated that his performance should not be judged on a few parameters like the GST and demonetisation.
"If you measure the work done by our government in these four years by only these two parameters, it's unfair. After nationalisation of banks, about 30-40 per cent of the population was out of banking system. We brought them into the system. Isn't that an achievement? Thousands of girls skipped schools because there were no toilets. We built those toilets for them. Isn't that an achievement?" Modi said.
Once again in the interview, the PM spoke in favour of holding general elections and state polls together.
"Logically speaking, holding different elections in different dates creates a burden on the exchequer. Politicians are always under stress. So I think both Vidhan Sabha and Lok Sabha elections should be organised simultaneously. It will save money and manpower," Modi said.
The PM thanked his fellow countrymen for their support in the interview. He added that he wanted to serve the nation for long.
"When I see satisfaction in the eyes of a common man, it gives me power," Modi said.