Farm distress is ‘no crisis’ but farmers in India will still need support, says Jaitley

New Delhi, Feb 1 (UNI) Hours after the Modi government announced a new support scheme for farmers, senior BJP leader and Union Minister Arun Jaitley on Friday said to describe farming community grievances and issues as ‘crisis’ will be a case of “over stating” something.

“To say crisis is overstating it…..Indian farmers are really the producers of their products. His productivity level has hugely improved. Therefore, in last two decades we have seen shortages becoming surpluses,” Mr Jaitley, who is undergoing treatment in United States, told television journalists over a video conferencing.

In this context, he said pulses were in shortage four years ago but now it is being produced in surplus. “But the farmers get hit because he produces more and cost goes down,” said Mr Jaitley adding in fact this is fast emerging as a global phenomenon.

“The United States is subsidising its farmers, the European Union too is doing so,” he remarked adding thus there is a need to maintain a “balance” between food prices and what the farmers require.

“I think our farm sector still needs support,” said Mr Jaitley, who would have certainly presented the Budget had he been well and not gone abroad for treatment.

Hailing the Budget – albeit only for four months presented in Parliament, Mr Jaitley said: ” Piyush Goyal has today made a significant announcement wherein income earners earning upto Rs 5 lakhs have been exempted from payment of Income-tax”.

This effectively strengthens the great Indian Middle Class whose expansion of purchasing power holds the key for India’s future, wrote Mr Jaitley in a blog earlier in the day.

Mr Jaitley, also known as one of the key confidants of Prime Minister Narendra Modi, also wrote in his blog posted on Facebook: “India’s macro-economic stability has unquestionably witnessed 2014-19 as perhaps the best-performing period in Indian history. The GDP growth during this five year period will be about 7.5 per cent”.

The inflation will be in the range of 4 per cent, he said adding the average fiscal deficit in the past five years has fallen from UPA regime’s figure of 5.3 per cent to 3.7 per cent.

“We will close a five year period by a figure of 3.4 per cent. We would ordinarily have maintained a target of 3.3 per cent but have a major announcement involving extra expenditure being made in the current Budget,” he said.

Mr Jaitley alsio said that the external debt to GDP has fallen from 23.9 per cent to 20.5 per cent till March, 2018.

“Foreign exchange reserves are comfortable at US$396 billion and touched an all-time high of US$ 425 billion. It is, therefore, obvious that India is being hailed as a bright spot in the global economy,” he wrote.

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