This year’s budget was significant in many ways. Apart from the key announcements to boost the economy, the budget also marked the end of the 92-year-old practice of presenting a separate Rail Budget after the Finance Ministry accepted Railway Minister Suresh Prabhu’s proposal to merge it with the General Budget.
Since this year’s budget was also much-awaited given that it was the first one following the demonetisation drive by PM Narendra Modi and also with GST all set to be rolled out soon, Finance Minister Arun Jaitley’s first interview following the announcement of the Union Budget 2017 made significant buzz.
Jaitley spoke exclusively to Times Now’s Rahul Shivshankar and Navika Kumar, where he emphasized that the objects of the Union Budget were clear so it was fairly easy to put the pieces in place regarding the country’s growth and finance. He supported the demonetisation move saying that in the long run it will increase the size of the formal economy as there will be much more money collected. He also said that unidentified money in the system has gone back to the banking system and eventually future transactions will lead to growth both in direct and indirect taxes. He also reminded that in the last two years he has had a revenue growth of 17 per cent each, which is quite unprecedented in India.
The FM said that he had to spend more on rural India, farmers, infrastructure, defence and places where spending was imperative.
On taxation, Jaitley said that they had to go hard against black money, enlarge the tax base and at the same time there were virtues in giving concession to certain categories of people for instance MSMEs, who are huge job creators, small tax payers, and incentivising non-tax payers to start filing their tax returns. He added that you must reward the honest tax payer and have a carrot and stick policy for non-compliant tax payers so that they become compliant.
Coming to corporate and middle class, Jaitley said that he has done more than anyone else for the middle class. He said that the middle class can save tax under 80c, children’s education and even by buying a house.
The Finance Minister also elaborated on the measures announced for the farming and the rural sector, job creation and the government’s move to introduce a Universal Basic Income, for those who need help and to reward the poor.
FM’s crackdown on political funding was also debated where he said that somebody had to take the lead and find a solution to create clean money. Jaitley said that the recent budget had many firsts to its credit and that this is one budget that has reduced taxes.
Speaking on job creation, Jaitley said that economic policies create jobs and those who are passing comments and turning columnists to slam his budget are those who in the first place had paralysed the nation economically.
Jaitley admitted that H1B visa restrictions following Donald Trump’s election in the US is a worrying issue but he cannot control the domestic politics of another country and that it is a wait and watch stance for now.
Coming in strong support of Narendra Modi, Jaitley said that he is the only PM to think beyond politics to also include improving sex ratio in Haryana, or changing the way people make or spend money thereby making India ethically better.
You can watch the full interview here: