Last Updated: February 02, 2024, 17:03 IST
FM Nirmala Sitharaman says the government is serving common people in letter and spirit. (PTI File)
FM Nirmala Sitharaman to CNN-News18 Editor-in-Chief Rahul Joshi: “I mean it when I said it, that this is secularism in action. This is where we have not shown any difference between members belonging to any community. The project reaches the ground for everybody who deserves to get it. And if they are eligible, they get it irrespective of who they are.”
A day after presenting the interim budget, Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman spoke exclusively to CNN-News18 Editor-in-Chief Rahul Joshi about how it was a “true vote on account budget”.
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“We treated it like a true vote on account, an interim budget before an election, and also an interim budget which is being presented with the clear understanding that the several programmes which were launched with empowerment of citizens in mind over the last ten years are reaching the ground and the beneficiaries are already on their own speaking about it,” she said.
Sitharaman added: “The power of word of mouth is very strong. So when a beneficiary gets truly the benefit and without any middlemen playing a role in it, they really understand that the intent of the government is what they’ve said is what is getting executed. So I place a lot of trust in the word of mouth, which has helped in schemes like PM Awas Yogana, PM Mudra Yogana, Swanadhi Yogana. All of which have benefited the small households, small people who want to do their business and who don’t have money to give for collateral, no properties to give. So this government has actualwly, because of the vision with which prime minister is committed to serve this country, is actually serving the common people in letter and spirit, and that is recognized by the people themselves. It’s not as if you are saying and you are showing target numbers, you are showing achievement numbers. No, the people in the ground are saying about it, I’ve got it. And so is my neighbor. So is the neighbor of that household and so on.”
“That is why I have used an expression, and I mean it when I said it, that this is secularism in action. This is where we have not shown any difference between members belonging to this community or that community, this religion or that religion or somebody’s relative and not relative. No difference. The project reaches the ground for everybody who deserves to get it. And if they are eligible, they get it irrespective of who they are. And therefore, in every way, the principle of empowerment, the Sabka Saath, Sabka Vishwas and Sabka Vikas, has been executed in every way. And that is the sense of confidence that the blessings of the people are not just at the time when we gave promises, but the blessings are even now coming in abundantly to say, yes, you’ve kept up your word,” the FM said.
Sitharaman presented the pre-election budget listing out achievements of the Modi government in the past 10 years while giving a glimpse of the future plans to make India a developed nation by 2047.
While presenting the interim budget, Sitharaman said the Modi government covered all aspects of inclusivity. She added that the people of India are looking ahead to the future with hope and options. Structural reforms, pro-people programmes and employment opportunities helped the economy get new vigour.
The interim budget for the fiscal year 2024-25 aligns with Indian tradition, preceding general elections anticipated in April-May 2024.