Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Friday said this year’s Union Budget has strengthened the middle class and given it more relief than was given by the UPA regime.
For income on which the UPA government imposed as much as 20 per cent tax, this budget has zero tax, Modi said, after flagging off two Vande Bharat trains from Mumbai to Solapur and Shirdi.
“Be it the salaried class or the middle class earning from trade and commerce, this Budget has made them happy,” the PM said, speaking after the flag off ceremony at the Chhatrapati Shivaji Maharaj Terminus in south Mumbai.
“The middle class has been strengthened in this budget”, he said.
Modi said people with an income of more than Rs two lakh rupees were taxed before 2014, but his government initially increased the limit to Rs 5 lakh and now to Rs 7 lakh in this year’s budget.
“Those who paid 20 per cent tax during the UPA government pay zero tax today”, Modi said.
Those with new jobs now have an opportunity to save more, he said.
The PM expressed confidence that this budget that promotes the spirit of Sabka Vikas Sabka Prayas’ will give strength to every family and encourage everyone to build a Viksit Bharat (developed India).
The PM flagged off Mumbai-Solapur Vande Bharat and Mumbai-Sainagar Shirdi Vande Bharat trains. He also launched two road projects, the Santacruz Chembur Link Road and Kurar underpass project, aimed at easing road traffic congestion and streamline the movement of vehicles in Mumbai.
After reaching Platform No. 18 of Chhatrapati Shivaji Maharaj Terminus, the PM inspected the Mumbai-Sainagar Shirdi Vande Bharat train and interacted with the train crew and the children inside the coach.
He said it is a huge day for Railways in India, especially for advanced connectivity in Maharashtra as this is the first time that two Vande Bharat trains have been flagged off on the same day. He said these trains will connect economic centres such as Mumbai and Pune to centres of faith, thereby benefiting those traveling for college, office, business, pilgrimage and agricultural purposes.
Travelling to sacred places like Shirdi, Nasik, Trimbakeshwar, and Panchvati will be made easier with the new Vande Bharat trains which will give a boost to tourism as well as pilgrimage, he said.
“The pilgrimages of Pandharpur, Solapur, Akkalkot and Tuljapur will also be made more accessible with the Mumbai-Solapur Vande Bharat Express”, he said.
Calling Vande Bharat train a grand picture of modern India, Modi said, “It is a reflection of India’s speed and scale.”
Ten Vande Bharat trains have started operating connecting 108 districts of 17 states of the country, he said.
The Mumbai-Solapur Vande Bharat Express will cover the 455 km distance between Mumbai and the textile city in 6 hours and 30 minutes, a saving of nearly one hour in current timings.
The Mumbai-Sainagar Shirdi Vande Bharat Express will take 5 hours and 25 minutes to cover the 343 km distance to the temple town.
The one-way fare without catering service on the CSMT-Solapur Vande Bharat train will be Rs 1,000 for chair car and Rs 2,015 for executive chair car, while the fares for the two classes with catering will be Rs 1,300 and Rs 2,365 respectively, a CR official said.
The one-way journey ticket without catering service for CSMT to Sainagar Shirdi will be Rs 840 and Rs 1670 for chair car and executive chair car respectively, while the ticket prices with catering service will be Rs 975 and Rs 1840 respectively.
This is Modi’s second visit to the city in less than a month. On January 19, the PM inaugurated and laid foundation stones for infrastructure and healthcare projects worth more than Rs 38,000 crore in Mumbai. His visit assumes significance in view of the upcoming Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation polls.