Budget 2021

Opposition-ruled States can top up farm scheme: Jaitley

Shishir Sinha New Delhi | Updated on February 01, 2019

Arun Jaitley,Finance Minister   -  File photo

Income support scheme and subsidies can go hand in hand, Union Minister Arun Jaitley said, as he countered the Opposition’s charges about the Interim Budget proposals.

Addressing mediapersons by video from the US, where he is recovering from surgery, Jaitley said the government had identified a sector that is facing problems and was helping it. “Let the States ruled by the critics top up the income support scheme to make the farmer’s life better,” he said.

As for the criticism that the income support scheme would only address land-holding farmers, not the tenant or landless farmers, Jaitley said it was better to start rather than wait for a perfect solution.

Asked to respond to the criticism that the Interim Budget ought not to have proposed changes in direct taxes, he noted that previous Interim Budgets had announced some stimulus by way of indirect taxes. However, he said, “the difference between direct and indirect tax is artificial.”

In response to former Finance Minister P Chidambarm’s comment that “it was not vote on account but account for vote,” Jaitley said: “Either of the two are better than money going into personal accounts.”

Asked about his return, he said: “The wait will not be for much longer.” He is expected to be back next week, after which he will resume his duty as Finance Minister.

Published on February 01, 2019

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