Priority for eco growth, MGNREGA funds enhanced: Nirmala

Priority for eco growth, MGNREGA funds enhanced: Nirmala

Agency News

New Delhi, Jul 10: The Modi Government would always strive to give a boost to economic growth, Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman said here on Wednesday but asserted that there will be no compromise on the welfare measures for farmers or for the workforce in rural India.

"As compared to the Budget Estimates of 2018-19 of Rs 55,000 crore, there has been an increase of Rs 5000 crore in MGNREGA allocation. Additional allocation will also be examined at the Revised Estimates stage," Sitharaman said in Lok Sabha during her reply to the marathon debate on the Budget.

She said that to help farmers, 'neem coated' urea is being promoted and the government is also providing easy access to all the farmers for fertilizers which have reduced the cost of cultivation.

"After 2014, we have never seen queues of farmers waiting for fertilizers, there has been no lathi charge," she said and amid protests from Opposition members- "Earlier, when farmers used to go to get fertilisers, they were beaten."

Sitharaman said about 5.61 crore farmers have been covered under the insurance schemes between 2018-19 over an area of about 30 per cent of the gross cropped area. "We are also taking steps to use special technology and ensure that is conducted in the presence of all concerned stakeholders," she said.

She said India now produces food grains totaling 298 mt. and horticulture export is 385 mt and milk production has gone up to 80 mt.

"Universal soil health card scheme enhanced intensified coverage under the micro irrigation," she said.

Finance Minister said promotion of economic growth will be at top of the agenda.

She also said - "It is our government that took seriously the recommendations of Swaminathan committee and started implementing".

In this context, she pointed out that - "It is our government that took the historic decision of providing a minimum of 50 per cent as the margin of profit on the cost of production in the year 2018".

'We are ensuring that social sector works are taken care of and this is being achieved due to prudent rationalisation of expenditure and mobilisation of additional resources,' Ms Sitharaman said.

At the end of her speech and as opposition members raised questions and the Minister responded, Congress and Trinamool Congress staged walkout in Lok Sabha protesting the petrol and diesel price hike and 'unsatisfactory' reply from her.

Congress floor leader Adhir Ranjan Chowdhury and others staged walkout at the end of the reply speech from Ms Sitharaman and said they were not satisfied with the government reply.

"Our questions and clarifications sought have not been answered," one of them was heard saying.

"Unsatisfied with the Minister's reply and to protest against the hike in fuel prices, which will affect the common man, Trinamool stages a walkout," a tweet from the party's official twitter handle said. (UNI)