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Union Budget 2018: NDA Govt pursues rural India with free LPG and houses

The last full-fledged Union Budget of the Modi government has put a significant thrust on the poor by enhancing LPG quota for them, connecting more villages to electricity, increasing health insurance coverage and building more houses and toilets in rural areas.

The finance ministry said that the NDA government launched Prime Minister’s Ujjwala Scheme to provide free LPG to make poor women free from the smoke of wood. “Initially, our target was to provide free LPG connections to about 5 crore poor women. But in view of the pace of implementation of Ujjwala Scheme and its popularity among the women, we propose to increase the target of providing free connection to 8 crore poor women,” said Mr Arun Jaitley while presenting the Union Budget.

The finance minister said that government will be spending Rs 16,000 crore under the Prime Minister Saubhagya Yojana for providing electricity to all households of the country.

“You can very well imagine our anxiety and restlessness even with one hour power cut. Think about those women and children whose houses will not get electricity. Their life is going to change because of Pradhan Mantri Saubhagya Yojana,” said Mr Jaitley.

Finance minister said under Swachh Bharat Mission has benefited the poor.

“Under this mission, government has already constructed more than 6 crore toilets. The positive effect of these toilets is being seen on the dignity of ladies, education of girls and the overall health of family. Government is planning to construct around 2 crore toilets,” said Mr Jaitley.

Finance minister said that focus of the government next year will be on providing maximum livelihood opportunities in the rural areas by spending more on livelihood, agriculture and allied activities and construction of rural infrastructure.

Mr Jaitley said that in the year 2018-19, for creation of livelihood and infrastructure in rural areas, total amount to be spent by the ministries will be Rs 14.34 lakh crore, including extra-budgetary and non-budgetary resources of Rs 11.98 lakh crore.

“Apart from employment due to farming activities and self employment, this expenditure will create employment of 321 crore person days, 3.17 lakh kilometres of rural roads, 51 lakh new rural houses, 1.88 crore toilets, and provide 1.75 crore new household electric connections besides boostingagricultural growth,” said the finance minister.

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