Thursday, November 30, 2023

Satya Column : Modi govt keen on strengthening the rural economy

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What is meant by development? According to BharatiyaJanata Party ideologue Deendayal Upadhyay, real development would mean doing good to all sections in society and providing livelihood opportunities for those who are on the last rung of the ladder in society. Way back in 1965, the Bharatiya Jana Sangh had declared comprehensive humanism, advocated by Deendayal Upadhyay, as its ideology. The BJP, upon its formation in 1985, adopted the ideology officially. The ideology of Deendayal is merger of individual with society and individual with nature.

Going by the provisions of Budget 2023 introduced in the Lok Sabha on February 1, BJP seeks to achieve balanced development among all sections of society. The Budget, which did not ignore the poor, farmers, youth and the Adivasis, would be a fitting tribute to Deendayal Upadhyay, whose death anniversary is observed on February 11.

Keeping in mind the interests of the poor, India distributed food grains at subsidized rates among 80 crore of its population under the PM Garib Kalyan Yojana. The government has increased allocation under the Pradhan Mantri Awas Yojana – the weakersections’ housing programme. The accounts of over 48 crore people are credited to help meet their basic needs. Farmers, who secure loans of the order of Rs 20 lakh crore, form the backbone of the country. How can anyone dare say that the Modi regime is not pro-poor, considering that it has allocated Rs 1,25,00,000 crore in Budget 2023 for farmers’ welfare? Compared to last year,the subsides on food, fertilizers and petroleum have been increased by 17 per cent (Rs 5.21 lakh crore). To step up the pace of agriculture and to encourage startups, an Agriculture Accelerator Fund has been constituted and huge allocations have been made to convert waste into wealth and to promote natural farming methods. It reflects the interest of the Modi government in strengthening the rural economy.

The Centre did not ignore the interests of the Adivasis living in forests. A special scheme has been introduced with allocations of Rs 15,000 crore to benefit the most backward among the Adivasis. Funds have been allocated to appoint 38,000 teachers in Adivasi schools. To expand market for fishermen, Rs 6,000 crore has been allocated. To create high-value horticultural gardens, Rs 2,200 crore has been allocated.

The Cereals Research Station has been identified as a Centre of Excellence. Initiatives like encouraging cooperatives in dairy development and other spheres of activity, announcing Viswakarma Kaushal Samman Package to benefit traditional artisans, providing drinking water to each and every household, and increasing allocations under the Jal-Jeevan Mission to Rs 70,000 crore from Rs 60,000 crore stand as examples of the deep interest that Modi government has in the welfare all sections of society. The Centre has announced financial aid to the poor languishing in jails without access to legal aid. Funds have been allocated to eliminate manual cleaning of septic tanks and manholes. The Budgethas given a lot of relief to the middle class by increasing the ceiling on IT to Rs 7 lakh from Rs 5 lakh. The Standard Deduction has been increased and concessions have been extended to people in family pensions. The budget has provided for several incentives for women and senior citizens in the budget.

The budgetary allocations to the health sector have been increased by 3%, taking the total allocations to Rs 86,175 crore (almost $ 10 billion). The Government has plans to develop 30 Skill India international centers to enable the youth to make the most of international job opportunities. The Budget has allowed more incentives to startups and paved the way for extending concession to petty businesses.

Ever since Modi assumed power, his government has focused on building infrastructure across the country on a large scale. To create wealth in the nation, the Budget has allocated Rs 10 lakh crore, which is 33% more than the amount allocated under this head in last year’s budget.

The Centre has allocated Rs 2.4 lakh crore for the development of railways. Also, Rs 75,000 crore has been allocated for the development of 100 transport infrastructure development projects in the country. Additionally, funds have been allocated for the development of 50 airports, heliports, water aerodromes, advance landing zones and so on. Three Artificial Intelligence Centers of Excellence are proposed to be developed, apart from 100 laboratories. The Budget allocated over Rs 22,000 crore for the MSME sector, indicating the farsightedness of Modi government.

Because of the war between Russia and Ukraine and due to a host of international reasons, there is slowdown globally. Yet, the Modi government introduced Rs 45 lakh crore budget for 2023-24 to implement pragmatic measures for empowerment of all sections of society. The Saptarishi initiatives identify the priority areas of the Centre.

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