1971 'Garibi Hatao' did not help poor, Modi Govt to shun populism: Jaitley


New Delhi, Senior BJP leader and Union Minister Arun Jaitley on Friday hailed latest World Bank data that places India as the sixth largest economy surpassing France and asserted that Narendra Modi-led dispensation will not follow the Congress model of 1970s and 1980s that was mere 'populist'. He said Prime Minister Narendra Modi has shaken the "traditional thinking process" and ensured that rural India and the less privileged get the first right of resources. "If this and increased expenditure continues for the next decade, the impact on India’s rural poor would be very significant. This benefits all – irrespective of religion, caste or community. The Congress provided India’s poor with slogan. Mr Modi has given them resources," Mr Jaitley said. "We will not follow the model of 1970s and 1980s of the Congress. That model essentially involved populist slogans rather than sound policy and actual expenditure for the welfare of the poor," Mr Jaitley wrote in an article posted on Facebook. In this context, he described the Prime Minister as a "man of many words and many more actions" and pointed out that strict implementation of government policies have often helped to achieve "stiff targets". "The 1971 ‘Garibi Hatao’ model was one of redistribution of poverty rather than the generation of wealth and resources," he said trying to pooh pooh the hyped slogan raised during Indira Gandhi era. In this context, Mr Jaitley wrote: "The result of this misguided approach was that the lives of the poor did not move up significantly. On the contrary, the present Prime Minister is a man of many words and many more actions. He announces stiff targets and programmes which at first sight appear to be difficult, if not impossible." Mr Modi follows it up with the "actual implementation and delivers the promise", said Mr Jaitley, who stewarded the Finance Ministry since 2014 till recently as he fell sick and is now undergoing treatment. "We have started witnessing many of the advantages of a fast growing economy. More consumption, more production, more industries, expanding service sector, greater urbanisation, many more jobs, more economic activity and certainly more revenue," he said. He said under the Prime Minister, the Government’s own yardstick for performance has become "stiffer". "How quickly are we able to deplete poverty levels of a section of our people poses a major challenge? How are we able to translate the advantages of this faster growth to rural India which has always been less advantaged?" writes Mr Jaitley. He said in last four years, the government has also tried to bring a significant section of "our people into the neo-middle class" category so that their aspirations can also be met with. The Government’s approach in this regard is one of clarity, he said and added that the 'populist' model of 1970s and 1980s the Congress party pursued will not be pushed. Referring to budget allocation and some of the government’s specific programmes, Mr Jaitley said in the current year, the total amount to be spent for livelihood and infrastructure in rural areas, both from the Budget, extra-Budget and non-budgetary resources, is Rs.14.34 lakh crores. "The social sector expenditure which also benefits the rural areas is in addition to this. Agricultural credit to be disbursed is Rs 11 lakh crore. The Kisan Credit Cards have been extended to fisheries and animal husbandry farms," wrote Mr Jaitley adding that for fourteen agricultural crops, "in what appeared impossible, the farmers will (henceforth) get an MSP for Kharif crops at 150 per cent of the cost of production". "To double the farmers’ income and dairy infrastructure development funds with an outlay of Rs 10,881 crores has been approved," he said adding similarly for rural housing, the Awas Yojana has a total outlay of Rs 81,975 crores. The sanction of Rs 9,000 crores has already been made. "The micro irrigation fund with a corpus of Rs 5,000 crore has been created. A long-term irrigation fund with an initial corpus of Rs 20,000 crore has been created. Cumulative loans sanctioned under this have already touched Rs.57487 crores," Mr Jaitley said.India’s growth story at a fast pace is likely to continue as per assessment of all credible agencies, said Mr Jaitley.