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Nothing for common man in budget: Rana

Oppn flays, coalition hails

Avtar Bhat
JAMMU, Jan 12: Making a complete postmortem of the budget proposals of Finance Minister, Haseeb Drabu presented in State Assembly yesterday, NC MLA from Nagrota, Devender Rana today termed the budget for 2018-19 “a beautiful rose and a lovely flower on front but having nothing inside.”
Participating in the debate on budget in State Assembly, Rana said this budget is totally hollow and asked the Finance Minister instead of doing a jugglery of words, he should do something practicable for the benefit of the people as there is nothing in budget for common masses of the State.

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Taking a jibe at Finance Minister and Government, the NC Legislator said efficiency has not been visible in the budget. “You should do some thing practical to show the people of the State that growth has taken place”, he added.
Rana said the data given regarding the economic growth in the budget is not correct and the liquidity of Jammu Kashmir Power Development Corporation (JKPDC) is a major concern but you have left Power Budget and now tabled Panchayt Budget. “Previously you talked a lot in Power Budget but did nothing in practical” , he added.
Rana, while welcoming the decision to regularize the employees, said though a belated decision but it was still good. However, he asked the Government to pay them salaries in full and also strongly advocated for regularization of Anganwari workers, Homeguards etc.
He, said the Finance Minster had talked about creation of Manpower Corporation and till date nothing has been done in this regard. “The Finance Minister comes with futuristic ideas and it seems them (coalition partners) that they are flowers but we have seen nothing except thorns on ground”, he added.
Reminding the Finance Minster of his announcement of corporatization of the State, improving rural industry and reimbursement of agriculture land, Rana alleged that nothing has been done in this regard till date. “You talked about infra development but the discussion has not been started till date”, he added.
The NC leader, while criticizing the Government said you destroyed State by brining GST and there is nothing in budget for poor, farmers, youth, unemployed, socially and economically backward people etc.
“You have sold your soul when you brought the GST. We never opposed GST but were of the opinion that State should bring its own GST.” Without naming BJP, he said they were talking of one nation, one theory and you said “I am fighting your war. You won the war but lost the soul”.
“This budget is not also a vision document and you have not put the vision of State through this budget”, he added.
Rana accused the Finance Minister of his total failure in creating infrastructure for future and the promises made in previous three budgets introduced by the Minister were not fulfilled.
The NC leader said “the State is passing through darkness for last three years and you are saying that we are taking you forward but darkness still prevails and there is deep darkness”.
He said that proposal of Rs 200 crore under NABARD for taking up major Water Supply Schemes in next year is not sufficient to cater the demand. He pleaded for manpower audit, setting up of industrial units in rural areas and adequate funds for development of infrastructure in key sectors.
Rana said that enhancement in wages for unskilled labourers is a good step but it should be increased up to Rs 350 as was given by the New Delhi Government.
Further, he said that the new Financial Expenditure System for Budget allocations introduced with the last budget to streamline departmental spending, has not achieved efficiency yet and asked for giving more direction to administration functionaries for attaining its objectives of the initiative.
Mohammad Shafi Uri, while taking part in the discussion, held PDP-BJP coalition responsible for the controversy surrounding Section  35-A and said that abrogation of the  same would not help non-locals to settle here but only give an impression that an attempt was being made to change demography of the J&K.
He grilled the ruling coalition partners for their contradictory stand on Article 370 and 35-A.  “While BJP says abrogation of Article 370 and 35-A is solution of all problems, PDP advocated talks for resolution of the Kashmir issue,” he said and asked PDP to clear stand on BJP demand.
The former Finance Minister said  Drabu’s budget has not mentioned about the progress and achievements of the commitments and targets set in the previous budget. Observing that this year the Government has mentioned only the Horticulture industry in the budget, he urged the Government to include Agriculture also in their priority sector while framing various welfare schemes as majority of the people are directly or indirectly dependent on the agriculture sector in the State.
Participating in the debate on budget, Hakim Yasin, MLA PDF while welcoming some measures in the budget, however, said there is total misappropriation of funds under MNREGA schemes. He said in his constituency Rs 20 lakh were released under MNREGA scheme and only two to three lakh were spent and rest misappropriated. The Government should take cognizance of the same, streamline system and funds be spent properly, he added.
He said development could not be fruitful till there is political uncertainty in the State and did not agree with BJP MLA R S Pathania who earlier said that budget has nothing to do with Article 370 and Article 35 A.  Political stability is needed in the State otherwise entire development process is whitewashed due to uncertainty, he added.
He, however, congratulated Finance Minister for announcing Pay Commission, scholarships for students under going courses out side State, right of pension to daughters but regretted that nothing has been done to address unemployment problem.
Yasin said in last budget many steps were promised but not implemented till date. He strongly advocated for unemployment Allowance to educated youth.
BJP’s R S Pathania while objecting raising of Article 370 and 35 A issues in the House during the discussion of budget, said it has nothing to do with budget. Terming the budget unprecedented, he said Finance Minister deserves all praises for growth rate, fiscal reforms, regularization of daily wagers, insurance scheme etc.
He, however, demanded enhancement of rate of Safai Karmcharis and SPOs. He said the doctors and other employees be given incentives who are posted in rural areas. He, while referring to Renewable Energy Mission as announced by the Government, said that Ramnagar has four rivers but no project has been taken up in hand to channelize their energy.
He also suggested that road safety Action Plan be framed to contain increasing accidents and strongly demanded that the Toll Tax at Lakhanpur be abolished.
Mohammad Asgar Karbalai of Congress while recalling the promises made by former Chief Minster, Mufti Mohammed Sayeed about equitable development of all regions especially backward and deprived areas said there is no mention in this budget for the development of Ladakh region. Last time the Finance Minister had said that Ladakh will be paid attention but nothing was done in this budget and no mention was made about the development of this region, he added.
Karbalai said Kargil district got nothing except Rs 100 crore meant for development under district plan. It is unfortunate that out of seven Medical Colleges including two AIIMS, Ladakh got nothing. “If you want development of the State then why Ladakh is ignored”, he asked?
Even in sanctioning of Central Universities Ladakh was ignored, he said  and demanded improvement of infrastructure for Degree College Kargil and provision be kept on upgradation of need base schools in Kargil and State share be allocated to Ladakh in Health and Irrigation Sectors. He regretted that nothing was done to give boost to cultivation of Apricot fruit in Kargil in this budget.
BJP MLA Rajesh Gupta termed the budget as pro-people and said that it was aimed to put the State’s economy back on the track as it was derailed owing to situation in past 3 decades. He described the budget proposals as growth oriented and said that every section of the society has been taken into consideration in the budget. He appreciated the Government for announcing incentives to the officers and officials posted in far-flung areas of the State, taking various reformative measures and refund on SGST value edit. He also demanded refund on invoice.
Shah Mohammad Tantray of PDP, in his address,   termed the budget as a sincere and honest effort to bring the economy back on a right track and appreciated the Finance Minister for an innovative fiscal exercise.   He, however, said that the enhancement in wages of un-skilled labour is too meager and pleaded for enhancement of the same up to Rs 500. He underscored the need for taking measures for the welfare of the people living in border areas including district Poonch. He also pleaded for special incentives for the victims of cross boarder shelling. The MLA demanded creation of avenues for setting up of industrial units in Poonch district so that the educated unemployed youth of the area get job opportunities. He also highlighted the issues of Homeguards and pleaded for giving due consideration for their regularization.

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