Arun Jaitley hits out at Manmohan Singh for ‘jumla’ remark in pre-poll cross-firing; who said what

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Updated: July 23, 2018 12:52:51 PM

With the 2019 Lok Sabha election approaching closer, the political cross-firing is increasing, latest being between Union Minister Arun Jaitley and former Prime Minister Manmohan Singh.

Former PM Dr. Manmohan Singh need not be pessimistic about doubling rural incomes, Arun Jaitley said.

With the 2019 Lok Sabha election approaching closer, the political cross-firing is increasing, latest being between Union Minister Arun Jaitley and former Prime Minister Manmohan Singh. At the Congress Working Committee (CWC) meeting on Sunday, Manmohan Singh criticised the government for making tall claims about doubling farmers’ income, to which Arun Jaitley, within hours, replied that the former should compare investments made by the NDA government with that of UPA government.

At the CWC meeting, Manmohan Singh, as quoted by ANI, said, “Government’s claims of doubling farmers’ income by 2022 will require agriculture growth rate of 14 per cent, which is nowhere in sight.” The former Prime Minister also criticised the government for its culture of “self-praise and jumla”.

Arun Jaitley countered Manmohan Singh’s argument in a tweet: Former PM Dr. Manmohan Singh need not be pessimistic about doubling rural incomes. If he compared the investment that the NDA government is making in the agriculture, rural and social sectors he will get the answer.

The Narendra Modi government, as proposed in the Budget 2018, paved way for hiking the Minimum Support Price (MSP) of Kharif crops to one-and-a-half times of produce. However, some stakeholders claim that the MSP hike is not as per the Swaminathan Commission report. Even on doubling of farmers’ income, noted agriculture economist Ashok Gulati had earlier said that the target can only be achieved if there’s a 13% growth per annum for five continuous years until 2022.

However, if compared in the healthcare sector, infrastructure, MGNREGA, the NDA government did make higher investments than the UPA government. The investment in flagship Pradhan Mantri Swasthya Suraksha Yojana (PMSSY) was hiked by three times to Rs 3,825 crore (budgeted expenditure) in FY19 as compared to Rs 1,273 crore in FY14.

Similarly, the NDA government, which is known for aggressively pushing infrastructural development, built around 73% more national highways in its first four years till 2017-18 compared with the last four years of the UPA government. This year, the government also made the highest-ever allocation of Rs 1,48,528 crore to the Railways. Similarly, the allocation to rural employment programme MGNREGA was increased to Rs 60,000 crore in FY17. In FY18, it was Rs 48,000 crore and in FY19, it was Rs 55,000 crore.

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