30 April, New Delhi
The government Thursday took on the Congress for obstructing passage of Land Acquisition Bill which in turn is impacting the development of rural areas.
Replying to a debate on the Finance Bill in the Lok Sabha, Finance Minister Arun Jaitley said, the government is trying to increase the expenditure on infrastructure like rail, roads and industrial corridors.
Jaitley said, the facilities will provide employment opportunities to the population living in rural areas and enhance the living standards.
He said, the new bill will be instrumental in solving the problem of poverty in rural parts of the country. In an apparent reference to the earlier remarks of Congress Vice President Rahul Gandhi that NDA government is a – Suit Boot Ki Sarkar, Mr Jaitley countered it and said it is a ‘Soojh-Boojh Ki Sarkar’ .
The Finance Minister said, 60 per cent of country’s population is dependent on agriculture whereas their contribution to GDP is 15 per cent. He said there is a need to bring down the dependence on agriculture by providing alternative employment. He asked the opposition to put an end to politics of obstructionism and help in country’s development.
On farmers who are affected by unseasonal rain, the Finance Minister said, Prime Minister Narendra Modi has reduced the eligibility criteria of compensation related to crop damage from 50 to 33 per cent. Jaitley said, this is just one step and government will take more steps in future to safeguard the interest of farmers.
On economic situation, he said, the economy is expected to grow at eight per cent and if states can compete with each other then the overall growth rate may go up. He said, where economies of countries like Japan, Brazil, South Africa and Russia are facing challenges, India is being seen as a bright spot and countries are competing for investment.