Shimla: Terming it a lackluster budget (2010-11), congress president Kaul Singh Thakur said that burning issues before the state had been left untouched as the document presented was nothing more than a jugglery of figures that lacked planning, direction, vision, dynamism and even ideology.
Talking to reporters in the opposition lounge after the budget presentation, he said the budget was silent on proposals for tackling unemployment, reducing man-animal conflict to save farmlands, plugging tax leakages, containing wasteful expenditure and for containing the damage done by making a wrong presentation before the 13th Finance Commission.
â€œThe budget failed to even fulfill the promises BJP had spelled out in its manifesto,â€ he said.
About wasteful expenditure, he said that while the state languishes under heavy debt, ministers and senior officials have changed their vehicles and upgraded to travelling in Toyota Corola sedans.
He alleged that excise leakages were crores of rupees had been detected taking place from a liquor plant in Hamirpur district that had patronage for a BJP MLA but the government and officials were turning a blind eye to it.
Details in the fine print need to be looked into about the government have marked 32.95% for development works against the about 27 % it was for the current year, said Kaul Singh.
â€œIt was most disappointing to find a repeat mention of old schemes in the budget, clearly showing a lack of long term planning, he said.
Calling the Rs 550 Cr kept aside to pay employee arrears as chicken feed, the congress leader said nothing has been said about paying the entire amount due to the employees.
The chief minister says that 61 percent of the arrears would be met but what stopped the government from paying up the entire arrears, he questioned.
Nothing had been spelt out about containing monkey menace to protect small and marginal farmers. Standing crops being destroyed by monkeys, blue bulls (neelgai) and wild boards, which was only increasing the number of people without a secure livelihood, he said.
Asking for taxing the rich and sparing the poor, Kaul Singh said that the higher VAT on diesel in Himachal Pradesh was causing revenue losses as the vehicle owners preferred to fill their tanks in neighbouring states where VAT was lesser.
Taking a dig at naming most new schemes after former prime minister Atal Bihari Vajpayee, the congress president jokingly said that senior BJP leader LK Advani is thoroughly annoyed with the Dhumal government as in three years no scheme had been named after him.