Nirmala Sitharaman says Budget 2019-20 reflects commitment to boost investment in agriculture, education, health

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Parliament LIVE updates: Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman addressed concerns raised during the general discussion on the Union Budget in the Lok Sabha on Wednesday said, “This is the second Budget after the implementation of the GST from 1 July 2017. This Budget 2019-20 reflects the government’s commitment to substantially boost investment in agriculture, health, and education.

“There need not be any anxiety that sectors like education or health will suffer, as we have planned to achieve this through prudent rationalisation of the resources.”

Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman begins her speech by thanking the MPs for “actively” participating in the discussion on the Union Budget. “I feel reassured that this House will give maximum attention to the economy. ‘Sabka saath, sabka vikas’, will be the focus of this government,” she said.

 The Lower House began proceedings on the Union Budget presented by Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman, who is also scheduled to speak in the House on Wednesday.

BJP MP from Pune Girish Bhaichandra Bapat was one of the first speakers who lauded the Budget and the Narendra Modi government at the Centre. Bapat illustrated his point by reciting several couplets and also praised Sitharaman for her maiden Budget. “The origin of a ‘ram rajya’ has started through Nirmala Sitharaman. She has ‘nirmal’, ‘sita’, and ‘ram’ in her name. The budget is pro-poor. I support this budget,” he said.

Amid sloganeering, Speaker Om Birla allowed Congress leader Adhir Ranjan Chowdhury to submit his point in the House. However, Birla also admonished him for “bringing up the same issue again and again in the House.”

In response, Chowdhury said that he didn’t want to speak about Karnataka, but Maharashtra and proceeded to describe the events of Wednesday morning, when Karnataka Congress leader DK Shivakumar attempted to meet the rebel Karnataka MLAs in Mumbai. He said that the BJP was hatching a “conspiracy” to topple the government.

BJP minister Prahlad Joshi brought up the letter submitted by the rebel MLAs to the Mumbai Police, in which they said they feared for their lives due to Shivakumar’s visit. While Joshi was speaking, the Congress MPs walked out of the Lower House.

The Rajya Sabha was adjourned till 2 pm by Chairman Venkaiah Naidu after continued protests from Opposition members.

 Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman will on Wednesday reply to the debate on the Union Budget which she presented in Parliament on 5 July. Opposition leaders have criticised the Budget which aims to make India a $5 trillion economy in the next five years.

 Parliament LIVE updates: Nirmala Sitharaman says Budget 2019-20 reflects commitment to boost investment in agriculture, education, health

File photo of the Parliament of India. Twitter @loksabhatv

Congress leaders Shashi Tharoor and Adhir Ranjan Chowdhury have called the Budget disappointing. “There is nothing new, it is a repetition of old promises. They are talking about new India but the Budget is the same old wine in a new bottle. There is no plan for employment generation, no new initiatives,” Chowdhury had said.

Tharoor had express unhappiness over the government’s decision to hike fuel prices. “We are already paying the highest petrol rates in the world and they now want us to pay Rs 2 more for every litre. This will affect the ‘aam aadmi’ (common man) as prices of all items of consumption will become expensive with the rise in petrol price,” Tharoor had said.

Congress spokesperson Randeep Singh Surjewala had described the Budget as “anti-people, anti-youth, anti-poor and farmers”.

“(Prime Minister Narendra) Modi ji’s new government is against people, youth, poor and farmers. The Finance Minister not even once mentioned about the plight of farmers. She did not mention as to how the income of farmers will be doubled or how employment will be generated?” Surjewala had said.

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