May 2016 News

Oppn Corners Govt On 'directionless' Budget

31 May 2016
Rising Kashmir
Ishfaq Naseem

Srinagar: Opposition NC and Congress Tuesday cornered government over the budget presented by Finance Minister, Haseeb Drabu, in Legislative Assembly saying it lacked a roadmap on the economic development of the state. NC legislator, Devinder Singh Rana, cautioned the government against joining the GST regime stating that this would come at the cost of Kashmir's identity. 'History will never forgive you. You shouldn't bow before your masters in New Delhi,' he said. While referring to the government announcement about providing free education to the girl children, Rana said already no fee was charged in the schools. He drew the attention of Minister of State for Education, Priya Sethi, over the matter and sought clarification from her. Sethi didn't react immediately and it was only after she had got the clarification from the officers, who were present in the gallery that she rose to defend the Finance Minister stating that there a negligible fee was charged in the schools. Earlier, however former minister and MLA Chadoora, Javid Mustafa Mir, said education was not completely free in the state but left government red-faced by praising Rana for his speech. Rana said the promises made by FM in his budget last year were not however delivered. 'I had stated last year that the FM was issuing a post-dated cheque and the cheque has bounced'. The NC leader said the government had proposed Dal development bonds to improve the condition of the lake but rued that these bonds have not been issued and instead FM has stated that a water resource department would be set up. 'The government is wasting time and the budget reveals that no work has been done in last one year,' he said. Rana charged that FM has raised non issues by stating that the GP fund contributions of the employees have been understated to avoid a spotlight on the shortcomings. 'If the GP fund contributions were being misused then why did Drabu in his budget last year announced that DA of the employees will be transferred into the provident fund accounts,' he said. The NC leader said the fiscal deficit of the state was considerably higher than the targets, which were set under the fiscal responsibility and budgetary management act (FRBM). Rana also took an exception to the proposition made by Drabu that the Assembly should hold a debate over the payment of wages under the 7th finance commission to the employees stressing that the government can't avoid the fulfillment of the sovereign commitment. Earlier, former minister and senior NC leader, Mohammad Shafi Uri, said the Budget doesn't make a mention of the steps that the government would take to curb the unemployment in the state. He said there was also no focus on the welfare of the widows and the expenditures that will be made in the social and education sectors. MLA Khansaheb and Peoples Democratic Front Chairman, Hakeem Yaseen, said decisions taken in the district development board (DDB) meetings are not being implemented due to the heavy liabilities and shortage of funds.