President hints at pro-poor Budget

President hints at pro-poor Budget
President Pranab Mukherjee’s address to Parliament gave enough indications of increased spending on the poor and vulnerable sections of society, which could be reflected in the Union Budget slated to be presented on Wednesday. “At the core of all my government’s policies is the welfare of the poor, Dalit, downtrodden, deprived, farmers, labourers and the young people... My government is guided by the Antyodaya philosophy of Pandit Deendayal Upadhyaya. Financial inclusion is key to poverty alleviation,” he told a joint sitting of the two Houses of Parliament to mark the start of the Budget session.

The President’s address, which lays the road map of  the Centre’s priorities for the coming year, stated, “My government has taken many initiatives to improve the quality of life of the poor through assured housing, affordable healthcare, safe drinking water and sanitation, and access to clean energy.”

He said the government has saved about Rs 36,000 crore by implementing the Direct Benefit Transfer (DBT) Scheme through Jan Dhan Aadhaar and Mobile (JAM) trinity. In a big move to combat the evils of black money, corruption, counterfeit currency and terror financing, Mukherjee said the government took the decision on November 8 to demonetise old 500 and 1,000 rupee currency notes.

He said the resilience and forbearance demonstrated by the countrymen, especially the poor, recently in the fight against black money and corruption, was remarkable. The government’s very first Cabinet decision was to set up an SIT on black money. “The passing of Black Money (Undisclosed Foreign Income and Assets) and Imposition of Tax Act, Benami Transactions (Prohibition) Amendment Act, amendments to treaties with Singapore, Cyprus and Mauritius to prevent misuse of provisions in such treaties for tax evasion and movement of black money in India and the Taxation Amendment Act providing for Pradhan Mantri Garib Kalyan Yojana, have together resulted in a comprehensive policy-backed initiative against black money,” he said.

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