Without annual plan, Himachal budget on weak ground – Kuldeep Pathania

Dismissing government claims about having fulfilled its election commitments, congress legislator Kuldeep Singh Pathania lashed out for holding regional biases in its approach to development and said that BJP workers were usurping executive powers by issuing directives to administrative officials.

Participating in the budget discussion, the congressman said without an approved annual plan in place, presenting a budget held many uncertainties.

“Even the central government took a vote of account but here the government has presented a full budget by anticipating a Rs 2700 crore plan allocation that may or may not get approval when parliament presents a regular budget later in the summer, he said.

He said that states own revenues accounted for only 26 percent of the budget estimates and expenditure constituted 29 percent. “It was only devolution of central funds that was sustaining the states economy.”

Citing incidents, Pathania said that opposition legislators were being prevented from speaking at government functions and their lawful privileges were being transgressed.

Mentioning several government replies to questions raised in the house, he said that on the one hand tall claims about having fulfilled about 18,000 government jobs are made but in response to specific questions raised, the government has retracted that no vacancies having been filled till date.

Reading out contents of a letter asking government officials to abide by directions issued, Pathania claimed that such letters were frequently being issued by BJP office bearers, which was undermining powers of the executive and other elected members.

Terming it as a breach of propriety, he questioned under what authority were such directives being issued.

He said that in the absence of the government having done anything to improve ‘sadak, shiksha aur swasthay’ congress was unable to support the budget.

Irrigation and public health minister Ravinder Singh Ravi, responding to Pathania’s charges, recalled the treatment meted out to BJP legislators when there was a congress government around.

Roop Singh Thakur, BJP member termed the budget as ‘farmer friendly’ saying farm sector was focus of the budget after a very long time.

He said that a Rs 353 crore scheme for improving productivity, increasing procurement price of milk by Rs 4 and introducing crop insurance schemes for crops like totmato, potato, apple and mango would help to enhance rural incomes.

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