Former Prime Minister Manmohan Singh said on Thursday the budget for 2018-19 doesn’t have provisions for the schemes announced by Finance Minister Arun Jaitley and felt that the promise of doubling farmers’ income cannot be met unless agriculture grows at 12 %. Reacting to the budget proposals, Manmohan Singh asked the government to hold separate discussions in parliament on matters pertaining to the farmers, job creation, health and education. “The budget does not provide any assurance for the schemes taken up or announced by the Finance Minister. So there should be a separate discussion on the issues of farmers, job creation, health and education,” the Congress leader said.

He also panned the government over its claim to double the farmers’ income by 2022, saying it was “impossible” to do unless the country’s agricultural growth is 12 %. Singh said that unless the growth of 12 % is achieved in the agriculture sector, the claim of doubling the farmers’ incomes was just a “hollow assurance”. He said as far as budget deficit was concerned, the Modi government had claimed on earlier occasions that it would reduce the deficit but go by the Finance Minister’s budget speech the deficit seems “to be increasing”.

This was Narendra Modi government’s last full Budget before it faces the Lok Sabha elections to be held latest by May 2019. Opposition parties including Congress, CPI-M and Trinamool Congress on Thursday slammed the Union Budget as “jumlanomics” and “big bluff” and said the Modi government was still promising fair price to farmers despite being in office for nearly four years. Congress President Rahul Gandhi said Finance Minister Arun Jaitley had made “fancy” announcements with no matching funds. 

“Four years are gone; still promising farmers a fair price. Four years gone; fancy schemes, with no matching budgets. Four years are gone; no jobs for our youth. Thankfully, only one more year to go,” Gandhi said in a tweet.