December 21, 2017 / 10:50 AM / 8 months ago

India budget to focus on rural areas after Modi's narrow victory at home - sources

NEW DELHI, Dec 21 (Reuters) - India’s government will likely increase funding for the farm and rural sectors in the budget for the coming fiscal year, finance ministry officials said, to shore up political support in the countryside ahead of a raft of elections.

“The next budget will focus on farmers, rural jobs and infrastructure while making all attempts to follow a fiscal prudence path,” a senior finance ministry official told Reuters.

Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s government won an election in his home state of Gujarat this week, but only just as it faced discontent fuelled by falling farm incomes and a lack of jobs.

In 2018 and early 2019, there will be eight state elections in the heartland, leading up to a national election in 2019.

On Feb. 1, Finance Minister Arun Jaitley is expected to present his last full-year budget, for the 2018/19 year that begins April 1. (Reporting by Manoj Kumar; Editing by Richard Borsuk)

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