NEW DELHI: The first Budget of the Narendra Modi government’s second term, to be presented this Friday, will stick to pro-people notes with stress on addressing water woes, measures to help landless farmers and create jobs, sources said.
With five states slated to go to polls in the next six-seven months, the Budget could have a thanks-giving note, besides measures for politically critical issues. “The first and last Budgets of the Modi government’s first term were pro people.
The upcoming Budget, too, may stay the course. The middle class may expect relief given in the interim Budget could be formalised with zero tax slab raised to Rs 5 lakh,” said a senior BJP functionary, who added that a five-year roadmap on the economy could be on the cards. The BJP leaders concur on three politically critical themes before the government, which could be on top priority.
“There’s further scope to expand the ambit of PM Kisan in the light of a significant chunk of farmers being landless, including farm labourers. Additionally, the government will gradually move from MSP regime to income support, which could make the government look into the possibility of enhancing the Rs 6,000 annual support currently being given,” added the B J P functionary.
That the Budget would stay high on political narrative is seen as a given as Haryana, Jharkhand, Maharashtra and J&K are slated for year-end polls followed closely by Delhi next year. “Economic think tanks with saffron leanings have also advised the government during multiple consultations that employment generation requires a booster dose in the form of significant credit support to MSMEs,” said a pro-BJP economist.
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It is likely that the government may give India its first ‘Water Budget’, with BJP leaders saying the PM is keen to replicate successes of ‘Swachch Bharat’ in drought mitigation efforts and rejuvenation of water bodies, besides recharging ground water. “Financial reallocation is on the cards to tackle the unprecedented water crisis India is faced with. The Centre will have to take the leadership role, besides nudging states to reorient their priorities,” added the BJP leader.