'Impossible To Double Farmer Income In 5 Years': Manmohan Singh

29/02/2016 9:42 PM IST | Updated 15/07/2016 8:26 AM IST
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Former Indian prime minister Manmohan Singh, sits with the newly elected office bearers of "National Students' Union of India" (NSUI), who called on him at his residence in New Delhi, India, Tuesday, March 17, 2015. A special Indian court last week summoned Singh, accusing him of criminal conspiracy and breach of trust for his alleged role in a multibillion dollar scandal over the sale of coal fields. (AP Photo/Tsering Topgyal)

Calling the union budget 2016 a ‘mixed bag budget’ and criticising it for the want of any ‘big idea’, former Prime Minister Manmohan Singh on Monday said it is impossible to double the farmers’ income in five years as claimed in the budget.

"It is a nit-picking budget. There is no big idea except one that was mentioned yesterday by the Prime Minister himself, that the government plans to double the farmers' income in the next five years. I think it is an impossible dream and there is no inclination, no way of telling the country how it will be achieved because it implies a 14% annual increase in the farm income in each of the five years,” ," Singh said.

In his budget speech, finance minister Arun Jaitley said farmers’ income will be doubled by 2022 as 28.5 lakh hectares of land will be brought under irrigation. Jaitley announced an allocation of Rs 47,900 crore for agriculture and irrigation, which is almost double from the last year’s figure.

The opposition called the budget a "mere rhetoric" and said the government will not be able to "fool" farmers with "hollow promises".

In a sharp attack on the government, the Congress said it has "failed to create an immediate stimulus" to address economic challenges including employment generation with former the former prime minister, a well-known economist, holding that it lacked any "big idea".

Asserting that the budget was short of both "vision and conviction", party vice president Rahul Gandhi said a list of new promises have been made without any account of the "failure of tall promises made in last two budgets".

He, however, thanked Jaitley for accepting his recommendation on removing import duty on Braille paper which will help the visually impaired.

Criticising the budget, CPI(M) general secretary Sitaram Yechury said it was full of "hollow promises" and will burden commoners who will feel the pinch of hike in indirect tax.

(With inputs from PTI)

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