New Delhi, Feb 1: Former Prime Minister Dr Manmohan Singh said the fiscal arithmetic, shown by Finance Minister Arun Jaitley in the Union Budget 2018, could be at fault. “I don’t think I can blame the budget for being motivated by scoring points in elections, but fiscal arithmetic is at fault,” Manmohan Singh, as reported by Indian Express, said. Also Read - Maharashtra MLC Election Results 2020: BJP Suffers Setback, Wins Only 1/6 Seats; Ruling MVA Coalition Wins 4
When asked whether the Union Budget 2018 brought reforms, Manmohan Singh refused to comment, saying the word reform has been used and abused too many times. Singh, who walked up to the Finance Minister and greeted him for his budget presentation, said, “Real issue is whether farm crisis is a thing of the past, if not, what is the strategy to deal with the farm crisis.” Also Read - Rahul Gandhi Seems To Lack Consistency, Says NCP Chief Sharad Pawar
“This budget is high on projecting a bright picture but how will that be sustained (by the underlying fiscal arithmetic),” Singh, one of the most prominent economists of the country, said. He further questioned the implementation of the Swaminathan formula of setting minimum support prices for crops to give farmers 50 per cent return over production cost from the upcoming kharif season. Also Read - Karnataka Minister Makes Shocking Remark, Says Farmers Who Die by Suicide Are Cowards
“How will farmers income be doubled? How will these promises be fulfilled?” Singh asked. Earlier, Congress leader P Chidambaram said Arun Jaitley had failed the fiscal consolidation test in Budget 2018-19 and this would have serious consequences. The former finance minister said the fiscal deficit limit of 3.2 per cent in 2017-18 had been breached and was estimated at 3.5 per cent.