New Delhi: 

In a fierce takedown of the government’s Interim Budget, which includes an annual income support of Rs 6,000 for small farmers, Rahul Gandhi described Rs 17 a day “an insult” to farmers in a tweet targeting Prime Minister Narendra Modi.

“Dear NoMo, 5 years of your incompetence and arrogance has destroyed the lives of our farmers. Giving them Rs. 17 a day is an insult to everything they stand and work for,” tweeted the Congress president, with the hashtag #AakhriJumlaBudget.

The farmer scheme, called PM-Kisan, was widely anticipated as the government struggles to calm farmers’ anger ahead of the national election, due by May.

The government announced that small and marginal farmers, who own less than two acres of land, will receive direct annual handouts of around Rs 6,000 rupees, at a cost of Rs 75,000 crore to the government.

The money would be deposited directly to their bank accounts in installments of Rs 2,000. The PM-Kisan or “Pradhan Mantri Kisan Samman Nidhi” will be effective from December 1, 2018 and the first installment, for the period upto March 31, will be delivered soon, said Interim Finance Minister Piyush Goyal.

Piyush Goyal said farm returns had reduced because of the declining prices of agriculture commodities in the international markets and a fall in food inflation in India in the last two years relative to the non-food sector.

He said Rs 1.7 lakh crore had been allocated to bring food at affordable rates to families belonging to the poor and middle class.

“We ensured that everyone gets food and nobody goes to sleep without food,” he said.

The Congress has accused the government of presenting a full-fledged budget instead of an interim one. “It is not a vote on account but an account for votes,” said former finance minister P Chidambaram, accusing the government of “trampling” on time-honoured conventions.

The money would be deposited directly to their bank accounts in installments of Rs 2,000.


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