Arun Jaitley. (Photographer: Dhiraj Singh/Bloomberg)

Budget 2019: Loan Waivers Never A Solution To Farm Sector Problem, Says Arun Jaitley

Union minister Arun Jaitley said income support is a better solution for problems plaguing the farm sector rather than loan waivers.

The minister, who is recuperating from a kidney ailment in the U.S., told news agency ANI in an interview the interim budget’s proposal to provide Rs 6,000 annually to small and marginal farmers with holdings up to 2 hectares is “an additional support”.

“If Telangana & Odisha can announce schemes, then I'm sure other states can announce (similar) schemes to support farmers,” Jaitley said. “The opposition is in power in several states; they can top up this scheme.”

The government will also provide Rs 20,000 crore for the scheme in the current year, for which they had to make a 0.1 percent compromise on this year's fiscal deficit target. “Our fiscal record speaks for itself.”

On Tax Collections

Jaitley said tax collections have been growing between 15-18 percent on average over the last five years. “If tax collections are rising, surely those who are paying the taxes are entitled to see the benefits.”

He also said there was no way tax collections could increase without a corresponding expansion of the economy. “GDP estimates are estimates. Tax collections are real."

Jaitley said the Indian economy has registered nominal growth of 11.5-12 percent over the past five years. "It would be an economic absurdity to say such large nominal growth isn’t creating jobs."

He pointed to the inadequate rise in India’s productivity for the paucity of jobs. “Have our productivity levels gone up to that level? Obviously, the answer is no.”

The minister said this was one of the peaceful periods as far as social issues are concerned, to reiterate that jobs were being created.

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