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False narrative: FM Nirmala Sitharaman

Union Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman
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Union Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman

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Sitharaman rebuts Oppn’s crony slur over Budget

New Delhi: Union Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman on Friday accused the Opposition parties of creating a 'false narrative' around the Union Budget 2021-22 and labelling it as 'pro-rich', saying that from free foodgrains, gas to building roads and houses have been part of Budget priorities for the poor.

While replying to the debate on the Budget in the Rajya Sabha, Sitharaman asserted that the Union Budget speaks for itself and is the instrument through which Aatmanirbhar Bharat is to be realised, especially at a time when economies across the global had suffered due to the pandemic.

The Finance minister said the Budget is looking towards maintaining sustainable economic growth in medium term. She said that post pandemic economies have suffered all across the world and the Budget was an attempt to provide a "strong stimulus" to deal with this situation.

In doing so, the Finance minister added, not only quick short-term solutions were created, "we also looked at medium, long term and sustainable growth that will help us remain one of the fastest growing economies."

The stimulus provision in the Budget is for economic revival and reforms taken during the pandemic to revive growth, she said. Sitharaman added that the Budget has been carefully thought after listening to views, suggestions and opinions from experts and economists around the country and the world.

"Over two thirds of this population are youth looking for opportunities," Sitharaman highlighted and added that "The Budget was aimed at not only giving relief packages but creating opportunities for employment."

Sitharaman has said that Defence Budget has not been reduced by the Centre.

Sitharaman also hit back at the Opposition and claimed that a false narrative was being created by opposition that the government is working for cronies and added that Budget 2021 provisions for poor, Dalits and tribals.

She took a veiled dig at the Congress and said that Centre's schemes are helping the poor in the country but not the "damaads". 'Damaad', I didn't think is the trademark of Indian National Congress. Damaad har ghar mein hota hai. Magar Damad Indian National Congress mein ek specialised naam hai, says Nirmala Sitharaman.

"Over 1.67 crore houses completed under PM Awas Yojana. Over 2.67 crore households have electrified under PM Saubhagya Yojana since October," Sitharaman said while highlighting the false narrative by the Opposition.

Speaking about MNERGA, the Finance minister said that Prime Minister Narendra Modi is responsible for removing all ills from MNERGA, and it was under the BJP that the scheme was effectively utilised. "We have overseen the highest ever utilisation at Rs 90.469 crore of the rural employment scheme," she added.

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