Govt. preparing pro-active and reformist budget: Supriyo
New Delhi,The government is preparing a pro-active and a reformist budget, said Babul Supriyo, Minister of State for Urban Development, adding, “we are scared of a pro-rich budget.”
Supriyo was speaking at the Budget Aaj Tak Business Roundtable, organised by the India Today Group. The event, organised on the day the Budget session of Parliament begins, looks at the expectations from the BJP Government’s first full-year Budget. Supriyo said: “The government has made clear its policies and directions. The results will be there after some time for all to see.”
Talking about the focus areas of the government, Dr Mahesh Sharma, Minister of State for Culture & Tourism, said that the Government is making all out efforts to promote domestic and international tourism. He highlighted the changes that the government has brought in over the last few months to make India an attractive destination for the foreign as well as the domestic tourist.
Sharma said: “We have allotted Rs 100 crore each for the promotion of five tourist circuits across the country.” He added that the government has already inaugurated the National Culinary Institute and also a National Museum, 18 years after these had been approved by previous governments.
Speaking about the other aspects of tourism, Sharma said that the government is looking at privatising ITDC hotels but has decided to keep Air India as the national carrier. He added that the Group of ministers has discussed the situation of Air India and also noted the conditions of the other private airlines. On the other hand, the Pawan Hans Corporation has turned around and is now starting to make profits.
The panel discussed at length the Smart City project, a pet project of the Modi government and whether progress has been made on it. Supriyo said that the government is very close to finalising the criteria for smart cities. “We are 70-80 per cent through with the concept of the smart city. We are also involving urban local bodies.”
Supriyo said that administering the country is an ongoing process. “But of course, the quality of the administration can be upgraded. There is a need for patience on smart cities. We have a courageous man as the Prime Minister who is not afraid to spell out his dreams and plans,” Supriyo said.
Sharma also defended the government by saying that the Prime Minister will share his report card with the people after 60 months. He added that not just that, the government will be presenting budgets every year and people can rate the performance of the government on those as well.
Manish Tewari, Senior Leader, Congress, was appreciative of the UPA government’s work. He said that the UPA government left behind good economic environment for the BJP government as the growth during the UPA term averaged 7.5 per cent to 7.75 per cent during its ten years. His poser to the BJP ministers was whether the govenment will work for the aam adami or for the rich few. “Will the budget be pro-rich or pro-poor. Will the government be balanced between the people and the rich,” Tewari asked.