Finance minister Arun Jaitley on Friday hinted at greater support to farmers to recover from distress and listed steps initiated by the current regime to improve the lot of the middle class and the poor, including quota, tax relief and new scheme for health, seeking to bolster his government\u2019s image in the build-up to the general polls. The minister said besides doubling the expenditure on interest subvention for farmers, completing the 99 unfinished irrigation schemes and rolling out a novel crop insurance scheme, the government had sought to give farmers a 50% profit over their costs. \u201cThe farmers, of course, need greater support and the government is committed to the same,\u201d he added. ALSO READ:\u00a0GST Council meeting: Here is list of 5 key decisions taken by Modi govt In a first, the government has extended a Rs 2-lakh-crore annual tax rebate (both direct and indirect taxes) to the middle class, without a single impost being increased for them, he said. The GST has emerged as the single-most important \u201cconsumer-friendly measure\u201d in India, and the government has sacrificed around Rs 1 lakh crore by lowering the GST rates on most commodities to make these available at reasonable prices, he added. The government has promised a house for every rural poor by 2022 and about 50 lakh houses are being built in rural areas annually. State funding has been raised three times to Rs 27,000 crore annually during the NDA regime. Each village has been electrified and rural sanitation has moved up from 39% to over 98%. The poor are being provided cooking gas under the Ujjawala Scheme. The annual expenditure under the flagship employment guarantee scheme, MGNREGA, has crossed Rs 60,000 crore, \u201calmost twice of what was being spent by the UPA\u201d. ALSO READ:\u00a0Modi govt\u2019s election handouts threaten FM Jaitley\u2019s fiscal math The universal health scheme \u2014 Ayushman Bharat \u2014 is targeted at 40% of India\u2019s population and each one of them can get hospital treatment free with the coverage up to Rs 5 lakh annually per family. Slamming the opposition for paying only \u201clip sympathy\u201d to the poor, the minister said the 10% reservation for economically weaker sections in government jobs and educational institutions does not fall foul of the basic structure of the Constitution; instead it\u2019s the \u201csingle greatest recognition\u201d of the poor in the general category. ALSO READ:\u00a0Turn of fortune for Indian rupee: From Asia\u2019s best performer to worst in just two weeks The minister said in every Budget, the lower end of the taxpayers have got relief. Even though the income tax slab is Rs 2.5 lakh, those with an earning up to Rs 3 lakh need not pay any tax. A Rs 40,000 standard deduction has been given to all employees. Similarly, all investments in housing, insurance and other saving instruments, have been raised in the last four years. The cost of this to the exchequer is almost Rs 97,000 crore per annum, he said. Inflation during the five-year tenure has been kept between 3-4% against 10.4% during UPA-II.