- Indirectly strengthens argument in favour of simultaneous elections
- Assures farmers of government’s intentions
- Says union govt paid Rs. 75,000 crore by way of SMS to wheat in 2021
Union Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman has indirectly supported her prime minister’s argument in favour of simultaneous elections by announcing huge allocations for the election-bound States for road development. While speaking about road laying and widening as part of her budget presentation, she said about one lakh crore of rupees would be spent in Tamil Nadu alone for developing national highways. Next came Kerala, another poll-bound State, which was provided with Rs 65,000 crore for the same purpose. It was followed by West Bengal, yet another State due for elections. This State was allocated Rs. 25,000 crore for national highways. Assam, also due for polls this year, was allocated Rs. 19,000 crore for road widening.
To increase the number of mandis:
Niramala Sitharaman also tried to support the farm laws and remove fears entertained by the farmers by emphasizing that the Union government had spent Rs. 75,000 crore by way of procuring wheat at MSP. This measure had benefited 43 lakh wheat growing farmers in fiscal year 2021. She also spoke about increasing the number of mandis. Without openly challenging the claims and fears of the farmers, she tried to assure them that the government is trying to improve their lot. She promised agriculture credit for FY 2022 to be Rs. 16.5 crore. The allocation for rural infrastructure also was increased.