Finance Minister Arun Jaitley has blamed the previous Congress governments for the woes of farmers and rural distress in an article posted on social networking site Facebook on Tuesday.
Referring to the protests by farmers in national capital Delhi last week, Jaitley said the problems of farmers did not begin after NDA government assumed power in 2014.
Finance Minister blamed lack of inadequate investment in rural infrastructures – rural roads and irrigation schemes – during the previous Congress governments for the woes of Indian farmers and poor quality of life of Indian farmers.
Jaitley said that NDA adopted a multi-pronged strategy to improve the quality of life in Indian villages, increased the quantum of investment to make Indian farmers self-sufficient and farming remunerative rather than to keep them dependent on state agencies.
Finance Minister wrote that 3.8 lakh kilometer long road existed in the country first 67 years after India’s independence whereas during the last four years of Modi governemnt, 1.9 lakh kilometer long roads have been built, an unprecedented growth of 50% during the last four year.
“Very soon we will be close to the destination of connecting every village with a pucca road,” wrote finance minister Jaitley in the social media post.
Jaitley also credited Modi led NDA government at the centre for providing electricity to the last village in the country saying that in next few weeks the rural electrification programme would be complete.
Talking about the success of Prime Minister Modi’s flagship scheme, Pradhan Mantri Avas Yojana – Rural, finance minister wrote that only 10 lakh rural houses were being built in the final year of the previous UPA government, now this figure has gone up by four and a half times as about 45 lakh houses are being constructed every year.
Jaitley said: “The Awas Yojana in rural areas has been an unprecedented success. By 2022 every rural Indian will live in a regular house.”
Talking about another project of Clean India Mission, another pet project of Prime Minister Modi, Jaitley said that the coverage of rural sanitation has gone up to nearly 97% in November 2018 against the figure of just 38.7% in October 2014.
Prime Minister Narendra Modi has often referred to the success of Swachch Bharat Abhiyan in his speeches, explaining how the improved cleanliness has brought down the incidence of diseases affecting the poor households and saved medical expenditure of Rs 50,000 crore of those families in a year.
Finance Minister Jaitley also referred to another flagship scheme operated by petroleum ministry, saying that more than 5.8 crore gas connections have been given in a period of little over one and a half years under the Ujjawala scheme.
He said more than 13 crore households have been given the benefit of Mudra loans without any bank guarantee and 54% beneficiaries of the scheme were women.
While talking about Ayushman Bharat, the flagship scheme of the government for providing health coverage of up to Rs. 5 lakh per beneficiary family per year for the treatment of serious diseases, he blamed Congress for inadequate medical facilities in rural areas even 67 years after independence.
Talking about the steps taken by the government to boost farmers’ income, Jaitley said nearly Rs. 60,000 crore would be spent under MGNREGA this year, asserting that the amount spend by NDA government is twice the amount spent by the previous UPA government.
Jaitley said the minimum support price for several specified crops has been ensured at one and a half times of the cost of production.
He said last year NDA government spent a huge sum of over Rs. 3.96 lakh crore in rural areas and this year this figure would be around Rs. 4.38 lakh crore against the amount of just Rs. 2.41 lakh crore spent during the last year of the previous UPA government.
In a scathing attack on previous Congress government, Jaitley said: “From 1971 onwards, the Congress policy was slogans and not resources…improving the quality of life in rural areas cannot be done by slogans alone.”