Tax-free budget is an eyewash: Chautala
Leader of the opposition in Haryana assembly, Om Prakash Chautala, on Tuesday said the tax-free budget presented by the government was an 'eyewash'.
Chautala said it was an old habit of the present regime to first present a tax-free budget and subsequently burden the common man with new levies.
Referring obliquely to the government's move of withdrawing the proposed levy of 5 % Value Added Tax (VAT) on sugar and textiles from April 1 in lieu of the additional excise duty levied earlier by the central government, the former chief minister also questioned the decision of omitting the tax proposal during the presentation of budget in the House.
Participating in the discussion on budget estimates, the Indian National Lok Dal (INLD) supremo described the budget as "directionless and insipid".
"Every year, a tax free budget is presented by this government merely to earn an applause. During the 2011 Budget session, I had asked the then finance minister to assure the House that no new taxes will be imposed by the government after the budget session. He did not do so," Chautala said.
" I knew the intention of the government and was not surprised when in April 2011 they increased the rate of VAT on several essential commodities from 4 % to 5 %."
The INLD leader, who did not display much hostility while speaking on the budget estimates also asked chief minister, Bhupinder Singh Hooda as to how could he announce an increase in the Shagun allowance from Rs 10,000 mentioned in the budget speech to Rs 11,000. "
Kya yeh House ki avmanna nahi hai (Is it not the contempt of the House?)," INLD leader said.
Chief minister Bhupinder Singh Hooda, however, immediately clarified that he never made such an announcement outside the House.
"I had only made a suggestion,'' Hooda said.
Chautala then asked Hooda as to why he intervened during the budget speech to get the para proposing levy of VAT on sugar and textiles omitted.
Assembly speaker Kuldeep Sharma, however, intervened to clarify that it was the finance minister who announced the omitting of the para and not the chief minister.
The INLD leader further said that budget presented on Monday did not give relief to the people of the state. "The debt liability has constantly increased since 2005 ever since the Congress came to power in Haryana.
It was Rs 26268 crore in 2005-06 and reached Rs 53132 crore in 2011-12. It will reach Rs 60,437 crore by the end of 2012-13 fiscal,'' Chautala said.
He also criticised the state government for not allocating funds for improvement of law and order machinery in the state.