Prime Minister Narendra Modi today said the Budget favoured villagers, the poor and farmers, with the focus on bringing about a qualitative change in the country and alleviating poverty through a slew of time-bound programmes.
Commenting on the Budget 2016-17, he said special attention has been paid to agriculture, village infrastructure, healthcare, employment generation and Dalit entrepreneurship.
''This Budget is pro-village, pro-poor, pro-farmer. The main focus is to bringing about qualitative change in the country,'' Modi said, adding, ''There will be a big change in the lives of common people.''
He said the budget has laid a road map to alleviate poverty in a time-bound manner.
''Several steps have been taken for the farmers. The most important is Pradhan Mantri Krishi Yojana,'' he said.
Noting that electricity and roads are crucial for villages, the Prime Minister said by 2019, all villages of the country will be connected by roads, while all of them will be electrified by 2018.
For MNREGA, there has been the biggest allocation, he said.
Talking about housing, Modi said every poor man dreams of owning a house and efforts will be made to strengthen this sector to ensure that the poor people realise their dreams.
At the same time, exemptions have been given to those living in rented accommodations, he noted.
Finance minister Arun Jaitley said the Union Budget is aimed at improving rural infrastructure and increasing rural income as the biggest challenge to the economy is agrarian distress.
He said the Budget for 2016-17 aims at taking forward economic reforms, increasing spending on infrastructure and giving a boost to overall development of the country.
''It aims at improving infrastructure in rural areas and rural income increase. Today the biggest challenge to economy is rural distress and agrarian distress.
''The budget is aimed at taking forward economic reforms, increasing spending on infrastructure and taking the country's economy forward towards further development. The country's development is on services, manufacturing and agriculture sector, that was the aim. The budget is aimed at taking steps towards overall development of the country,'' he said.
He said the budget aims at helping increase rural incomes, rural infrastructure and animal husbandry. If there is more job creation in villages, it will help emerge multiple sources of income.
On not increasing the tax slab rates, he said there is an attempt to increase the tax base and simplify tax structure.
''Reforms in the economy cannot be brought about by changing the slabs and if tax payers stop giving taxes, the country will stop. There should be benefits to tax payers also and the tax base should also increase,'' he said.
Jaitley said the steps taken by the government in the last 21 months collectively are themselves ''very big'' and this is the reason the country's economy is growing despite the global slowdown.
On the passage of key reform bills like GST pending in Parliament, he said that the government is ''making attempts'' and he expects ''the Congress party to help and cooperate in the passage of these key reform bills like the GST''.