Uninspiring, clerical: PDP
GOWHAR BHAT/SYED AMJAD SHAH
■ Positive: Traders
■ Disappointing: JCC
Srinagar/Jammu, Mar 12: Terming the Budget 2010-11 presented by state Finance Minister, Abdul Rahim Rather on Friday as “uninspiring” and “clerical”, main opposition Peoples Democratic Party today said the Budget was a disappointment for the people of the state, more particularly the working class.
Addressing a news conference at the party headquarters here, senior PDP leader and former Finance Minister, Tariq Hamid Karra said there were too much figures in the budget aimed at confusing the people. “It lacks innovation, imagination and looks like just a clerical document,” he said.
“No new schemes or programmes have been taken up by the government. The budget continues to carry on the programmes and schemes, financial and administrative, which we had started during our regime,” Karra said and added that the present government seems to be failing in coping up with the new and innovative financial management put in place by the previous government.
The budget, he said, was tentative and was not growth oriented as the debt burden was high. “It is an uninspiring budget full of figures,” he quipped. Karra, said there was nothing special in the budget regarding the core development areas like agriculture, horticulture, power sector, handicrafts and the much hyped employment package.
“It is surprising that to cover up the failure in the agriculture sector, government has blamed the nature,” he said.
In the power sector, he said, the government has failed to extend the assistance the state used to get from the centre for the infrastructure development. “Also they have only been able to collect the revenue of 670 crores against 1100 crores as a result of which there was a shortfall of 430 crores.”
He flayed the government for failing to overcome the power shortage in the state. “During our regime, the 450 MW Baglihar was yet to be commissioned but we managed to overcome the power shortage. But the present government has failed to do so despite additional power generation from Baglihar,” he said, adding the transmission and distribution losses have shot up from 45 per cent to 72 per cent.
He said there was too much of the fiscal indiscipline within the government. “I remember Abdul Rahim Rather used to crticize us for the overdraft of Rs 1000-1200 crore from J&K Bank. Today I want to question him why have these figures have gone up to Rs 2150 crore. How will he explain this?” he questioned.
He flayed the government for failing to table the economic survey report ahead of the budget and delaying the budget presentation saying that even after taking too long a time and that too at the cost of development, it has not been able to get approval of the Planning Commission for the annual plan 2010-11.
“The expenditure, which used to be in the extent of 97-98 per cent during our time, has gone down to 80 per cent,” he said.
He said the last year’s budget of 5500 crore included Rs 3000 crore as advance additional assistance recoverable in the next years while the actual budget figure was just Rs 2500 crore. “It is nothing but deception of figures,” he said.
He said government has made no mention in the budget of how it would generate the employment in the state about which it had created too much hype. The government could not get Rs 4000 crore which it required as arrears to pay to its employees.
On the price rise, he blamed the state government saying that even the union finance minister had also blamed the states for price rise.
Apart from the price hike, he said the government has put extra burden on the common man in the form of taxes.
Meanwhile, the Budget 2010-11 has elicited mixed response from the various quarters. The traders’ fraternity has hailed the budget but the salaried class has termed it as “anti-employee”.
The Kashmir Chamber of Commerce and Industry has said that the budget was a good exercise to balance low income and more expenditure; Federation Industries termed it as even-handed reasonable and Kashmir Traders Federation has termed it as a reflective of Finance Minister, Abdul Rahim Rather’s positive outlook.
KCCI President said that special care has been taken of the agriculture, industrial and handicraft sector which is a welcome step. “But the expectations chamber had from the budget in the tourism sector were not there,” he said.
He said the budget was a good exercise to balance low income and more expenditure. The KCCI president said that government should have laid more emphasis on the health sector.
Federation Chamber of Industry Kashmir president Shakeel Qalandar said budget was aimed at increasing productivity and infrastructure development besides eradication of unemployment.
He termed the budget as balanced and reasonable that has a roadmap for development in power sector and communication apart from agriculture and allied sectors. He stated that under the continued financial constraints where state’s 70 per cent reliance was on centre grants, the Finance Minister was not expected to do better.
He expressed concern that the revenue expenditure of the state continued shoot up year on year leaving less money for the capital expenditure.
The President FCIK expressed gratitude to the government for acceding to the demand of FCIK for extending the VAT remission to the industry beyond April, 2010. He also acknowledged other initiatives being taken for promotion of industry and said that together with the implementation of Prime Minister’s Task Force recommendations, the industrial sector in the state is likely to grow.
Kashmir Traders Federation, M Sadiq Baqal said that the budget included some of the suggestions of the traders’ fraternity.
“We had provided various suggestions to the finance minister and he has responded positively to these suggestions. We had many more expectations but it is good to see our suggestions being incorporated in it,” he said.
VAT remission, he said, is a move, which is in accordance to the wishes of the traders.
Joint Consultative Committee, an amalgam of various associations of employees, has termed the budget as anti-employees. JCC spokesman, Farooq Ahmad Trali said: “there is nothing in the budget for the employees. It is an anti-employee budget,” he said.
GKNN adds from Jammu: The state’s annual budget has disappointed government employees. The Joint Consultative Committee (JCC), a conglomerate of various government employees’ unions spearheading the ongoing agitation, has termed it as “disappointing”.
“We were expecting some kind of relief from the government in the budget especially after recent statements by the Finance Minister,” senior JCC leader Khursheed Alam told Greater Kashmir. “However, the budget has disappointed not only the employees but around 25 lakh people of the state who are dependent on the government employees,” he added.
The president of the NGCSEU, Nazir Ahmed Mir said the Union had taken strong exception “of government’s failure to come out with any commitment towards the government employees in the budget.”
Lastupdate on : Fri, 12 Mar 2010 21:30:00 Makkah time
Lastupdate on : Fri, 12 Mar 2010 18:30:00 GMT
Lastupdate on : Sat, 13 Mar 2010 00:00:00 IST
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