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Union Budget Or Election Manifesto, Take Your Pick

Rural distress and agricultural crisis was one of the talking points in the recently held state assembly elections, and is said to have cost the BJP dearly even in the Gujarat Assembly elections

Photo Credit : Himanshu Kumar

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If the Narendra Modi-led NDA government was looking for a chief strategist for the coming parliamentary elections, Finance Minister Arun Jaitley perfectly fitted the bill. And, the Union Budget 2018-19 almost read as the party manifesto ahead of the general elections.

Consider the facts:

FM Jaitley announced that MSP to farmers would be increased. “We have decided to give 1.5 times the cost incurred to farmers as MSP”.

This will help increase farmer incomes, and is a step ahead in the direction of doubling the farm income by 2022.

Rural distress and agricultural crisis was one of the talking points in the recently held state assembly elections, and is said to have cost the BJP dearly even in the Gujarat Assembly elections.

For the rural women, the government raised Ujjwala target, and vowed to give free gas connections to 8 crore poor women (up from 5 crore women). The Ujjwala scheme has helped the ruling party at the Centre a great deal in the recent elections, including the Uttar Pradesh elections.

An increase in the Mudra Yojana loans has been promised, whose 76 percent beneficiaries are women.

The FM announced a flagship national health protection scheme that will cover 10 crore families and up to 50 crore individuals. They will be provided upto Rs 5 lakh. This is one of the largest healthcare programmes in the world,  said the FM.

The government said it would focus on ‘ease of living’ of the poor and middle class.

All in all, it was an election-year budget, primarily aimed at the constituencies of farmers, women, and the poor.


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Union Budget 2018 narendra modi arun jaitley