?State Budget focused on development?
REFUTING THE Opposition charges that the budget for the fiscal 2006-07 lacks direction and focus, Finance Minister Raghavji today said that the manner in which State Government has managed its resources with overall development of Madhya Pradesh in mind and the endeavours to this end have won acclaim from the Central Government and major financial institutions.Updated: Mar 01, 2006 01:38 IST
REFUTING THE Opposition charges that the budget for the fiscal 2006-07 lacks direction and focus, Finance Minister Raghavji today said that the manner in which State Government has managed its resources with overall development of Madhya Pradesh in mind and the endeavours to this end have won acclaim from the Central Government and major financial institutions.
Summing up debate spanning three-days over State budget in the State Assembly, Raghavji in his reply, laced with wit and sarcasm, sought to answer to the specific charges and queries raised by the Opposition members in their speech.
Raghavji said those finding budget lacking in direction should understand that it has a very definite direction and would take the State on the path of rapid development.
He said the State Government’s fiscal discipline came in for praise by all, including the Union Government, Planning Commission and Reserve Bank of India.
He said there were certain features in the budget, which were never there before and would be setting a healthy precedent.
Surplus budget has been presented in the State after 13 years, and in 32 years, it is for the first time that ways and means provision of the Centre has not been invoked , he said.
It was for the first time in the history of Madhya Pradesh that pre-budget economic survey was presented in the House and it would also be the first State in the country to take initiative for sending copies of the budget to all the districts of Madhya Pradesh.
Finance Minister said the State Government has exempted foodgrains from tax and would incur a loss of Rs 50 crore on that count.
It has also decided to implement Value Added Tax (VAT) system from April 1 and hike in dearness allowance (DA) for its employees and pensioners would lead to an additional expenditure of Rs 400 crore.
He said in addition to constitution of Farmers’ Commission, the State Government has also decided to implement Vivekanand Insurance Scheme for the poor. Premium in this scheme would be paid by the State Government.
Comparing fiscal management during the erstwhile Digvijay Singh regime with his own, he said debt burden was Rs 5,552 crore in 1992-93 when the Congress Government had come to power and when it demitted office a decade later, it had gone up to Rs 32 crore.
There had been six-fold increase in debt burden during the Congress regime but during the current regime, increase in debt burden has only been 50 per cent, he added.
While the debt burden increased rapidly, there was not enough capital expenditure during the erstwhile Congress regime, Finance Minister said. On the other hand, BJP Government spent Rs 19,651 crore against debt of Rs 16,251 crore availed in the fiscal 2003-04.
Replying to Opposition charge that generous funding by the Centre has made the budget look attractive, he said that out of Rs 29,000 crore budget of the State, Central grant was only Rs 4,300 crore. He said that less than one fourth of tax money collected by the Centre from people of Madhya Pradesh was given to the State. Raghavji further denied that there has been cut in allocation for scheduled castes and tribes and said in fact there has been maximum budgetary provision for these sections.
He also said that it was wrong to blame the BJP for not keeping its electoral promises and 82 of the promises made have already been met. He summed up his speech by saying that the Opposition was criticising the budget for the same of it and many of them have greeted him private for presenting a fabulous budget.
First Published: Mar 01, 2006 01:38 IST