A political move to address farm sector

A political move to address farm sector

A political move to address farm sector

Ahead of elections to five states, the Modi government came up with a political budget as it attempted to address agrarian stress and tried to reach out to downtrodded to gain farmers and poor’s trust deficit.

BJP insiders believe the economic outlook shown in the Budget will help party undo anti-farmers, pro-corporate and anti-Dalits tags opposition had pinned on the Centre because of land acquisition bill and Dalit scholar Rohith Vemula’s suicide.

Prime Minister Narendra Modi tried ward off this image of his government by obliquely criticising Congress-led opposition through his comment that “there has been a lot of politics over the poor”. For Modi, the Budget has a social message. It tries to project that the government is “pro-village, pro-poor, pro-farmer” and the main focus is to bring a big change in the “lives of common people”.

“Several steps have been taken for the farmers. The most important is Pradhan Mantri Krishi Yojana,” Modi said. On the electrification and connecting rural India with mainstream, he stated that all villages will be connected by 2019 and electrified a year before that.

The about hour-and-half long speech of Finance Minister Arun Jaitley was littered with ‘farmers’ word at least 32 times, ‘infrastructure’ 27 times and ‘middle-class’ either once or twice – lending strong indication of the agrarian thrust to the economic direction.

  Jaitley, in a post-Budget press meet, however, refused to agree to a query that his Budget was “left of the centre” on the grounds that media has “conventional way” of looking at things. Jaitley argued that the Budget “deals with the reality of India” and was a product of a “combination of several things”.

Some of the pro-poor schemes are – health cover of up to Rs 1 lakh to BPL families, free LPG gas connection to women cooking food on chullahs and dialysis facility through PPP model at every district government hospitals and entrepreneurs hub for schedule castes to transform them.

The government announced allocation of Rs 100 crore each for celebrating birth centenary of BJP ideologue Pandit Deendayal Upadhyay and 350th birth anniversary of Guru Gobind Singh which comes ahead of Punjab Assembly polls due some time next year.