Budget speech long but lacks in content, says Prem Kumar Dhumal

  • HT Correspondent, Hindustan Times, Shimla
  • Updated: Mar 23, 2015 21:25 IST

Initiating debate over budget for FY 2015-16, leader of Opposition Prem Kumar Dhumal questioned the state government about the financial management.

On Monday, after the question hour, Dhumal initiated the debate and said that non-tax revenue, plan expenditure of the government was decreasing. Drawing a parallel with the previous Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) government, he said the non-tax revenue was Rs 1,377cr in 2012-13, while in 2014-15 it had come down to Rs 1,099cr.

He however, congratulated chief minister Virbhadra Singh for presenting the 18th budget, but said that there was no content in the same.

Dhumal also said the plan expenditure was 5.93% in 2012-13, while in 2014-15 it had come down to 4.62%. Blaming the Congress government for the 'poor' fiscal management, Dhumal said the revenue receipts were 20.45% of the total gross state domestic product (GSDP), while in 2013-14 it was 17.28%.

Dhumal also said the CM had announced to construct several parking lots, but had failed to mention all those schemes in the budget. He questioned on how many schemes the work had been started.

However, he hailed the government for announcement of giving three LED bulbs, but asked to provide it free of cost and increase the number. He said earlier, the BJP government had started a scheme aiming at saving the energy.

Dhumal also demanded the government to free up the additional announced Rs 20lakh to legislator for area development. He said the CM had announced to increase the MLA's development funds from Rs 50lakh to Rs 70 lakh, but imposed a condition that additional fund would be used in irrigation related activity. He said there were several segments where irrigation schemes were not possible and for public interest, fund should be free up and to be used for development works.

The former CM also pointed out at the declining power generation in the state. He said the government talked about harnessing more hydro power, but the bidders were not interested to come to Himachal as the government had to increase the bidding date again and again.

Dhumal said Panchayat president, vice-president and members' stipend should have been increased, but there was no mention of the same in the budget. He also raised the issue of increasing crime rate and demanded the government to take appropriate steps. He also pointed out that nothing had been said about the drug menace in this budget. He said the drug issue was becoming bigger day by day and government should have mentioned some steps to control it.

Dhumal also said resource mobilisation was the need of the hour, but in this budget there was not mention of the same.

Dalhousie legislator Asha Kumari and Nahan legislator Rajiv Bindal also participated in the debate.

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