Union Minister Piyush Goyal in conversation with ANI on Friday.
Union Minister Piyush Goyal in conversation with ANI on Friday.

Absolutely fabulous: Piyush Goyal hails Sitharaman, says it's a budget for all

ANI | Updated: Jul 05, 2019 18:04 IST

New Delhi [India], July 5 (ANI): Union Minister for Railways, Piyush Goyal on Friday hailed the first budget presented during the second tenure of Prime Minister Narendra Modi-led government as "absolutely fabulous".
"I must complement PM Modi and my senior colleague, the Finance Minister, Nirmala Sitharaman for presenting an absolutely fabulous budget. She has in this budget covered such a vast area of subjects and so many issues, so many sectors that needed urgent attention and has addressed a long term vision for the nation with very powerful immediate measures and a structural change in the way, the country works. I think this is a fantastic budget," he said in an exclusive conversation with ANI.
The Union Minister said that this budget has given a huge thrust on "ease of living", particularly for the poor.
"This has brought to fore the focus of this government's creating a strong and vibrant India. The macro-economic parameters have been kept very much under control and significant steps have been taken to promote Make in India, to promote Start-Up India, to ensure that the financial sector's pain points are all addressed be it banks recapitalisation, the housing sector. In some sense, a huge thrust has been given to 'ease of living' particularly for the poor, the lower middle class, the middle class."
When questioned about the budget brining no immediate relief for the common man, the Union Minister said, "I will disagree with you on this issue. I think you have to look at as a continuation of what was announced under the guidance by the Prime Minister's vision earlier on because the interim budget was only a part of this budget."
"So significant reliefs have been given on the tax side but more importantly look at the huge benefit being given for housing, the interest paid on housing loan has been increased from Rs 2 lakh to 3.5 lakh. If somebody buys an electrical vehicle, then he has been given benefits. So in some sense, you have to look at continuation," he added.
Goyal asserted that the budget has created the foundation for a "very bright" future of India.
"In continuation, how many measures have been taken to boost the economy keeping the macro-economy stable and yet providing relief on so many different fronts is truly a unique feature of this budget. It has created the foundation for a very bright future for India."
The Union Minister also lauded the sum allotted for infrastructure development saying that it will provide crores of "working opportunities".
"100 lakh crore rupee investment in the infrastructure sector alone. It will provide crores of our brothers and sisters working opportunities. Our traders will get pensions. Our MSME industry, Make in India programme will get a big boost. And a lot of clarification has been done that this budget recognises and gives a premium on honesty. I think that is the big takeaway."
The Minister claimed that investment in infrastructure will minimise the impact of petrol prices.
"Petrol prices have been reasonable. Prices have come down internationally. The government has also given some relief in a not very distant past. And I am sure that the impact will be small. But the investment in the infrastructure sector, the benefits that will accrue in terms of lesser consumption of petrol, diesel because of smoother roads and smoother drives and the lesser pollution in the atmosphere. These are I think very valuable inputs," he said.
The Railway Minister also thanked the Finance Minister for being "very benign" to the Railways.
"Finance Minister has been very benign to the Railways. I must thank her and acknowledge her support to the railways. She has laid out a vision of investment of nearly 50 lakh crore over the next 10 years and clearly, such large investments can only be with the government providing support and the Public-Private partnership model."
"So we will work simultaneously on both models. I would really like to thank the Finance Minister for strengthening the resolve of the Railways to continue to expand our infrastructure," said Goyal.
When asked if he sees investments coming in the Railways, the Minister said, "I would think so. As the Railways is becoming more and more vibrant, more and more freight traffic is coming on railways. We have dedicated corridors coming in giving us the headroom to expand our passenger services to different parts of the country."
"Going forward, we have more plans for the semi-high-speed corridors, to expand the existing lines with doubling, tripling, quadrupling, going for a 100 per cent electrification, advanced signalling systems for better safety and speed of travel. So we have very ambitious plans," he said.
He also stressed that Prime Minister Narendra Modi is "very-very keen" that railway becomes the preferred mode of transport.
"Prime Minister Modi is personally very-very keen that the railway becomes the preferred mode of transport in the country. And I must thank PM Modi and Finance Minister for their big support to the Railways."
Commenting on the FDIs, the Commerce Minister said, "By and large, FDI has been simplified and more clarity has been brought in on certain sectors. Certainly, on the insurance intermediaries, we have allowed FDI because we believe that now the people of India, the consumers want to have choices and with more and better international practices coming to India, I think the Indian consumers tend to benefit."
The Union Minister took a swipe at the Congress party for criticising budget saying that the party made promises which no one was willing to buy.
"Congress made promises that no one was willing to buy because they were just "sheikh chilli ki kahani", dreams in the air that nobody trusted. I think people's verdict is out. I can only say that Congress seems to be rudderless, leaderless and helpless," he said.
"Our track record is that we have performed on every single budget for the last 5 yrs. PM Modi is trusted by the people of India and the people have given their verdict. They gave PM Modi a second term with an even bigger verdict because they trust he will do what he says," the Union Minister said.
The Minister reiterated that the target of making India a five trillion dollar economy was "certainly achievable."
"Certainly achievable. Look at the track record the Finance Minister laid out. In the last five years, we have been able to add a trillion dollars. When we talk of adding 100 per cent in five years, it is very much achievable. We had inherited a very broken economy in 2014 and it took us time to repair that. Today, we have a robust economy ready to engage with the world on equal terms and I see absolutely no problem in achieving a five trillion dollar target by 2024-25 as we have laid out in the Economic Survey," he said.
The Minister termed the Union Budget as "budget for all" saying that it has addressed issues which will "ease of living" for the poor, middle class.
"It's a budget for all. It has addressed issues which will make 'ease of living' for the poor, the middle class. It has ensured large scale infrastructure development which has made life and living easy for 130 crore Indians, rich or poor. It has given a huge thrust to start-up, job creation, Make in India. It has given pension to the traders, a large part of the community that was left out of the social security network," the Union Minister said.
Terming the budget as "reform-oriented", the Union Minister said, "It's very reform-oriented. So it's a budget for 130 crore Indians. Finance Minister started by saying that we respect wealth creators, job creators. I can assure you that for those who are contributing to taxes through hard work and effort, the Finance Minister thanked them profusely for contributing them in nation building and I can only say that that is the mindset of the government." (ANI)