New Delhi: Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Thursday hailed Finance Minister Arun Jaitley for presenting an all-friendly Union Budget 2018-19 with the focus on agriculture, health and small businesses.
"This budget is farmer-friendly, common citizen-friendly, business environment-friendly and development-friendly," Modi said in his first reaction after Jaitley presented the Budget in the Lok Sabha here.
"Along with ease of doing business, there is also a focus on ease of living."
"This Budget has devoted attention to all sectors -- ranging from agriculture to infrastructure... this budget strengthens the hope and expectations of 125 crore people of India and will give a push to development," the Prime Minister said.
Modi spoke about a number of steps announced in the Budget, and said the benefits of these steps -- ranging from agriculture, health and education to a number of financial measures -- will reach the lowest strata of society.
"The benefit of these measures will reach the poor, exploited, and deprived people," he said.
"The farmers, Dalits, tribal communities will gain from this Budget. The Budget will bring new opportunities for rural India.".
Referring to Jaitley's announcement that the Minimum Support Price for notified kharif crops will be 1.5 times the input cost, the Prime Minister said: "I congratulate the Finance Minister for the decision regarding the MSP. I am sure it will help farmers tremendously."
Modi also lauded the announcement of a flagship National Health Protection Scheme under which Rs 5 lakh cover will be provided per year to 10 crore poor and vulnerable families in the country.
"This is the biggest government-sponsored health insurance scheme in the world," the Prime Minister said.
"One of the biggest concerns of a poor person is healthcare. The new programme announced in the Budget will be a relief for the poor," he said.
"Around 10 crore poor and lower middle class families will benefit. Around 45 to 50 crore people will come within its ambit," he said.
The Prime Minister also lauded the announcements to open 24 new medical colleges, concessions given to senior citizens in tax paid on interests, tax cut for the medium, small and micro enterprises, and relief given to the salaried class in the form of certain tax concessions.
"I am sure India will scale new heights of progress in the years to come," he said.