Finance minister Nirmala Sitharaman's evocation of the great Tamil poet Thiruvalluvar provoked angry noises from the Opposition benches during the budget presentation.
The finance minister said Thiruvalluvar had spoken of five jewels that a country should necessarily possess. Health, wealth, agricultural abundance, happiness, and safety and security. She was trying to say that India had all of them under Narendra Modi.
The House was generally silent when she went through the first four but when she came to the fifth – safety and security – all hell broke loose. For health, she said there was the Prime Minster's Ayushman Bharat. For wealth, she said the government respects wealth creation and would do all it can to support wealth creators. For agricultural abundance, the finance minister spoke of PM-Kisan that transferred Rs 6,000 a year to the accounts of farmers in three instalments and also measures to improve agricultural productivity. For happiness, she said all the measures taken to ease the conditions of living. And finally when it came to safety and security, the Opposition members began shouting causing the minister to pause her speech.
The Opposition benches wanted to know what the Centre was doing to calm the fears created by the Citizenship Amendment Act. But the minister had something else in mind. “There is enough proof to say that national security is the top priority of the government,” she said, obviously referring to the Centre's response to the 2019 Pulwama strike.