New Delhi: Asserting that every estimate in her first Union budget as the finance minister was “realistic,” Nirmala Sitharaman on Friday said that the focus on agriculture and investments lay foundation for nearly doubling size of the economy to USD 5 trillion in five years. Ms Sitharaman said the big picture presented in the Union budget 2019-20 is backed with a plan to increase investment without compromising on the fiscal consolidation roadmap.
Replying to the discussion in the Rajya Sabha on the Budget, the FM said adequate provisions for expenditure particularly for defence, pension and salary and internal security have been provided for with necessary mobilisation of tax and non-tax resources.
“It is not without a plan,” said the Union minister on increasing the size of the economy from $2.7 trillion to $5 trillion by 2024-25.
She said the pro-growth measures include reduction in import duty on some raw material and boosting 'Make in India', widening scope of cash support to farmers and constitution of a five-member Cabinet Committee on Investment and Growth under the prime minister for taking comprehensive steps.
Rebutting former finance minister P Chidambaram's assertion of “unachievable” tax projections, Ms Sitharaman read out numbers to say income tax, excise and GST collection targets are achievable. Rejecting Mr Chidambaram's claim that the Budget for 2019-20 did not have any “bold structural reforms” which should have come with the massive mandate the BJP got in recent elections, Ms Sitharaman said GST introduced in July 2017 and Insolvency and Bankruptcy Code brought in 2016 were structural reforms.
Ms Sitharaman said inflation has not been allowed to raise its head and keeping it under control is “a powerful tool to gauge” achievement of the government.
On the Economic Survey, and Budget giving different numbers, she said statistics in both documents are all authentic but used different base.