Arun Jaitley was apparently referring to the partial waiving of farm loans of up to Rs 2 lakh, taken from cooperative banks only.
Mocking Rahul Gandhi’s poll promise to waive farmers’ loans within 10 days of the Congress being voted to power in Rajasthan, Finance Minister Arun Jaitley Tuesday said the party is resorting to such slogans as it knows it is not going to come to power.
Jaitley said they had made this promise both in Karnataka and Punjab, but reduced the waiving of loans to a “make-believe formality”, when they found that they cannot do it in Punjab. The Union finance minister was apparently referring to the partial waiving of farm loans of up to Rs 2 lakh, taken from cooperative banks only.
But waiving the loans even partially resulted in a huge shortfall of funds for developments, he said. “Those, who do not have the knowledge of a subject, tend to seek cheap publicity. It needs vision, and not slogans, to run the country,” he said. It has become a trend to give slogans to hide ignorance, said Jaitley, adding the slogan-giving custom was started in 1971 with ‘Garibi Hatao’ but the country is still grappling with the problem.
The time of politics through sloganeering is over now as people’s expectations from political leaders are high, he added. In an election campaign rally in Jaisalmer district Monday, Gandhi had said, “You are going to make the Congress party’s government in the state. Within ten days of the government’s formation, the Congress will waive farmers’ loans in the state.”
Gandhi said he had made the same promise during Punjab and Karnataka elections and the Congress governments there have waived farmers’ loan. Jaitley also hit out at the Congress over making unemployment an election issue, saying it was the Congress which created the problem during 50 years of their rule in the country.
“Those who created the problem of unemployment are making it an issue today. Has the unemployment been there only for the last two years?” Jaitley asked. The Union finance minister said the people across the world used to mock at India for 40 years for its two to three per cent growth rate. It is for the first time that India has become one of the fastest growing economies in the world.
Talking about the Goods and Services Tax and demonitisation, Jaitley said it was an achievement of the government that it could bring 334 commodities under 12 and 18 per cent tax ambit after implementation of GST. “VAT and excise collectively had cascading effect and the tax rate was 31 per cent. The BJP government brought 334 commodities under 12 and 18 per cent slab. Those who looted 31 per cent as tax were ‘Gabbar’ or those who reduced the tax slab?” he asked.
The Union minister said only 3.8 crore people used to file tax returns when the BJP came to power in the country. After four years of the BJP rule, the tax base has almost doubled. “After four years of the BJP rule, 6.86 crore people have started filing tax returns and we hope it would touch 7.6 crore mark by next year,” he said.