Budget may not be populist, indicates PM Modi

PM Modi had earlier said that his government's only mantra was development. Photograph:( Zee News Network )

WION Web Team New Delhi, India Jan 22, 2018, 03.17 AM (IST)

Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Sunday gave yet another indication that the upcoming budget will not be a populist one.

Last week, asked in an interview to the Zee Group whether the budget would be political one where he would try to appease the voter, PM Modi said that his government's only mantra was development.

"Budget or no budget. Election or no election. First budget or last budget. BJP and Modi have only one mantra -- development. whatever is required to achieve this mission, we will do. That has been our only intention," PM Modi had said in the interview.

In an interview to a news channel on Sunday, when asked if his government will turn populist in its last full-year budget before the general elections in 2019, the prime minister again hinted that the budget would not be populist.

He said it was a "myth" that the common man expects "freebies and sops" from the government.

"But those who have seen me as the chief minister (of Gujarat) and also as the prime minister (would know) common man does not want all these things. It is a myth," he said.

The common man, he said, expects honest governance. "He doesn't demand sops and freebies. It is our myth."

PM Modi said his government was taking decisions to fulfil the needs and aspirations of the common man.

Asked specifically if he will resist populism in the budget, the prime minister said it needs to be decided if the country needs to grow and become strong, should "this political culture, the Congress culture, be followed".

He also said that the budget fell under the purview of the finance minister and that he did not want to interfere in it.

The budget will be presented on February 1.