Rana effectively defends National Conference’s Fiscal policies

Terms Budget as Jugglery of figures

By News Agency of Kashmir

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Jammu : Devender Singh Rana, Member Legislative Council today effectively demolished the case of the Finance Minister Tariq Hameed Qarra against the National Conference government as hyped by the later in his Budget speech.

While highlighting the National Conference Government’s Fiscal Policies from 1999-2002, Rana ripped Tariq Hameed Karra’s Budget speech by offering sound convincing technical details based on facts, data’s and figures.

Demolishing the government’s claims over economic reforms and its comparison with the previous government in the state by presenting facts and figures, The National Conference MLC projected the budget as a jugglery of figures without any economic reforms and vision thereby creating no hope for the socio economic development of the state.

Participating in the discussion over the budget speech in the Upper House, here today, Mr Rana came down heavily upon the finance minister for drawing comparison between the performance of coalition and the National Conference governments.

“At the face of it the budget documents seems to be prepared by person who is in a hurry to go for elections and is attempting to project that NC government failed to do anything and instead it was coalition regime which did wonders in the state”.

Asserting that the coalition government was lucky to receive budgetary support from the union government, he said, “When NC took over the rein of power in the state in 1997 the state was bleeding and it was destruction visible on the ground”.

Criticizing the particular reference of the finance minister questioning the `whereabouts of Vajpayee Package and Deve Gowda Package’, Rana said, “It is very unfortunate that a wrong impression is being created among the general masses for short term political gains”.

Quoting the budget speech delivered by the then finance minister Muhammad Shafi Uri in year 1997 he said, “During the visit of the then Prime Minister of India HD Deve Gowda on 13 and 14 February 1997 to Jammu and Kashmir, government was assured with financial help to meet the problem of over draft but we did not got what we were promised”.

The finance minister should go back to the record and see what the then finance minister has observed in his speech. “Nothing concrete materialized despite continuous follow up of the matter at the chief minister’s level with Government of India”, he quoted.

“The circumstances under which Dr Farooq Abdullah came to office in 1996 were totally different and Finance Minister should have considered the fact before drawing comparisons”.

Quoting the famous Persion Couplet, `Tahmama Dag Dag Shud, Pam-ba Kuja Kuja Niham’ , he said, “The state was devastated, the state economy was shattered and the infrastructure had crumbled due to violence and bloodshed”. “We were looking for succor from the centre government but very little help came our way. We only inherited liabilities of the Governor’s rule”.

He said that it was NC government which restructured the state and boosted its economic growth.

“We inherited a fractured economy and what you got from us was a stabilized state”, he said adding in 1988-89 the financial deficit of the state was Rs 57.4 Crores, while it increased almost 100 times till 1996 when it reached 640.47 crores, while at the same time the state growth in mid nineties was 8.49 percent and it came down to 1.9 per cent till 1996.

Mr Rana said there is huge mismatch between the income and expenditure of the state and Finance Minister has chosen to remain silent on the front.

He said that government claims that the volume of Annual Budget had increased from Rs. 9000 crore in 2002-03 to Rs 18400 crore in 2008-09 but the finance minister has not mentioned percentage of expenditure to state domestic project. “If we calculate the domestic expenditure under NC government and those made during the coalition regime comes at 13 to 14 per cent”.

“So what is unprecedented about it”, he asked adding, ” Tan Ap Nay Bhi Dhanpa Aur Tan Hum Nai Bhi Dhanpa”.

Taking the bull by its horn, the NC MLC further questioned the government’s claim over the per capita income of the state. “In budget document the finance minister claim that it was Rs 7000 crores in 2002-2003 and it is likely to rise to Rs 19000 crores in the year 2008-09. However, at the same time at Page No 52 of Economic Survey Report the government says that the per capita income was Rs 6543 crores in 1993-94, Rs 13745 in 1999-2000 and 14850 in 2004-05”.

The figures are contradictory to each other and clearly depict the intention of the government. “As per this report the per capital income of the state was Rs 13745 cores when we left the government and you now project it to be Rs 19000 cores in the current year”, he said.

“What is unprecedented about your achievements”, Mr Rana said blasting the claims of the Finance Minister. “You have only done jugglery with the figures and mislead the people by claiming that it is zero deficit budgets because there are lot of expenses projected in the budget for which you have no resource and shall rely on overdraft”.

Last year, he said, the government decided to pre pone the budget session claiming that it will increase the working season but government ‘s performance on the front is very poor. “Till November 2007, the state government has failed to spend more than 65 per cent of the sanctioned amount and it is now to be spent in less than four remaining months, which is most unlikely”.

“This is what you called financial reforms and work culture”, he said, while pointing towards the 35 per cent of money spent from the last budget.

Questioning of the logic adopted by the finance minister, Mr. Rana said that the government has shown transfer of the salaries from plan to non plan expenditure but without actually transferring the resources.

“It is mere juggling of figures as I would have solute finance minister if he would have transferred the salaries from plan to non-plan expenditure along with the resources, which he has not done”.

Asserting that the budget has ignored subjects of vital importance, Rana said that nothing has been talked about unemployed youth and farmers, which comprises a huge population of the state.

“Budget is expected to reflect socio-economic policies of the government”, but autopsy of the budget document only reveals the failure of the coalition government to come to the rescue of people suffering across the state.

“The number of people living below poverty line has increased considerably”, he said while pointing to the fact that the number has grown up to 5.4 percent from 3.48 per cent.

“The claims of the government of being pro-farmers and pro-development can be gauged from the fact that in the revised outlay government has shown a decrease of Rs 10 cores in agriculture sector, while it is Rs 200 cores in development of infrastructure”. Similarly, he said, in power sector the government in the revised outlay has shown a decrease of Rs 15 cores.

The claim of tax free budget is far from the truth as government has no control over the direct taxes. “You are governed by VAT regime and you can not violate the regulations”, he said adding, “As far as direct taxes like income tax, excise, customs and corporate taxes are beyond your control”.

He suggested that the government should have utilized the funds and economic push-back provided by the union governments from time to time for the welfare of the masses but instead it has focused on “anti-people, anti-farmers and anti-unemployed youth policies, which are evident from the budget speech”.