Last Updated: Feb 08, 2024
Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman on Thursday (08th February 2024)said the Government is taking the route of spending on public infrastructure creation and asset creation as it gives better returns. Replying to the discussion on the Interim Union Budget 2024-25 and the interim budget of the Union Territory of Jammu and Kashmir 2024-25 in Rajya Sabha, the Finance Minister said capital expenditure is spent on creating capital assets which can be used by all citizens equally which improves ease of living. She added that the route of spending money through public investment in infrastructure gives greater returns and in situ, generates more jobs.
Ms Sitharaman stressed that in the last 3-4 years, the Government has made sure that debt management is done well. She said the allocation for major flagship schemes like PM KISAN, PM AWAS Yojana, MGNREGA, and PLI schemes, has not been curtailed or reduced.
She said, the retail inflation has declined from an average of 6.8 per cent in April to December 2022 to 5.5 per cent in the corresponding period of 2023. Mrs Sitharaman said that the RBI had also a monetary policy committee meeting and it has been indicated that the inflation is coming down and is well within the tolerance band.
She added that to enhance access to food, the government has taken various critical steps to make available rice, atta, pulses and onion. She informed that Bharat brand atta, dal and rice are being made available in the market at affordable prices.
After the Finance Minister’s reply, the Rajya Sabha gave its nod to return the Appropriation ( Vote on Account) Bill,2024, the Appropriation Bill,2024 and Appropriation Bills related to Union Territory of Jammu and Kashmir and Finance Bill,2024 to the Lok Sabha. These bills were passed by the Lok Sabha yesterday.
Earlier, participating in the discussion, Congress MP Randeep Singh Surjewala alleged that the Government is not paying any attention towards the plight of the farmers. He questioned the government for not fulfilling the promise made on Minimum Support Price. He said farmers should be given relief and claimed that the Government has lessened the subsidy for fertilisers in the Interim Budget.
Dr Amar Patnaik of BJD expressed happiness that the Interim Budget has estimated less borrowings in 2024-25 as compared to 2023-24 from 15.5 lakh crores to 14.13 lakh crores. AD Singh of RJD said the Defence budget is only 1.89 per cent of the GDP and most of this goes to the payment of salaries and pensions of armed forces and very little is left for the modernisation of the defence forces. He requested the Finance Minister to spend at least four per cent of GDP on defence. Members from other political parties also participated in the discussion.
Union Finance Minister also laid a copy of the White Paper on the Indian Economy in Hindi and English versions on the table of the House. After completing the listed business, the Rajya Sabha Chairman adjourned the House for the day.