IEP Chandigarh, February 23
Former Chief Minister and Leader of Opposition Bhupinder Singh Hooda has expressed disappointment over the budget presented by the BJP-JJP government. He said the budget is against farmers, laborers, employees, small traders, rural, urban, poor, middle class, youth and housewives. “The budget has left every section empty handed. The BJP-JJP government has reduced the budget to mere rhetoric, because what is said in the budget is never implemented on the ground. The government considers the budget only a formality. It never shows seriousness about implementing the promises made in it,” he stated.Hooda said that the government has announced to spend Rs 20,340 crore on education, which is just 2% of the GSDP. while the new education policy recommends spending 6%. Similarly, the government has announced to spend Rs 9,647 crore on health services, which is only 5.2% of the budget, whereas in the National Health Policy 2017, 8% expenditure on health services was recommended by the year 2020 only. Talking about the agriculture sector, the government has announced to spend Rs 7342 crore on it. “This is just 3.9% of the total budget while 60% of Haryana’s population is dependent on agriculture. It is unfair to spend less than 4% for such a large population. Not only this, this budget is also completely silent on the promise of doubling the income of the farmers. This attitude of the government reflects its anti-farmer and anti-agriculture mindset,” he said.“It has become clear from the budget that the debt on the government is continuously increasing. The government has put total internal debt of Rs 2,85,885 crore. This time the government is going to take a loan of Rs 64,840 crore. Due to the increasing debt, the government will have to spend Rs 56,769 crore only in paying its principal and interest. After paying interest and principal, only Rs 8071 crore is left with the government for capital expenditure,” Hooda pointed out. “This means the government is engaged in playing the game of repaying the loan by taking loan. Therefore, the Congress demands that the government should issue a white paper on rising debt so that the public can get a clear idea of the total internal debt, public account deposits (small savings) and debt taken on government guarantee (loan taken by PSUs),” he said. He said the government has announced to spend a total of Rs 18,460 crore on capital expenditure, which is only 10% of the total budget. “For Haryana, which is facing the highest unemployment in the country, it is not possible to generate employment according to the need with just this much expenditure. It is grossly insufficient to address the problem,” he said. “The government has made airy claims regarding per capita income, and the government has given per capita income of Rs 2,96,685. Accordingly, the annual income of each family is Rs 14,83,425. There are 30 lakh such families in the state, who directly depend on agriculture. The NSSO report states that the total income of farmer families does not exceed Rs 22,841 per month i.e. Rs 2,75,000 per annum. On the other hand, the government claims that more than 29 lakh families (whose income is less than 1.80 lakh) in the state are the beneficiaries of the Ayushman Yojana. In such a situation, the claim of Rs 2,96,685 per capita income is not visible on the ground,” he stated, pointing to massive exaggeration in numbers.Hooda said this budget will prove unsuccessful even in stopping the rising inflation. “In the neighboring state of Rajasthan, the Congress government has announced to give LPG cylinders for Rs.500 and the people of Haryana were also expecting such an announcement from the state government. The hopes of the people have been washed away as the government did not even announce a cut in VAT to give relief from the inflation of petrol and diesel. The government has left the people suffering from inflation to fend for themselves,” he stated.
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