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AAP’s Phoolka terms Congress budget a document of deceit

Phoolka said it was ironical that finance minister Manpreet Badal got to know about the bleak fiscal position of the state on the day of presenting the budget.

punjab Updated: Jun 22, 2017 10:38 IST
Ravinder Vasudeva
Ravinder Vasudeva
Hindustan Times, Chandigarh
HS Phoolka,Manpreet Badal,Punjab budget
HS Phoolka , the leader of Opposition in Punjab Vidhan Sabha (HT Photo)

Terming the Congress government’s first budget “hopeless and fake document”, the Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) on Wednesday went ballistic while attacking the treasury benches.

Initiating a debate on the budget, leader of Opposition HS Phoolka said the budget was a “document of deceit” and it provides no solution to the problems of Punjab.

Phoolka said it was ironical that finance minister Manpreet Badal got to know about the bleak fiscal position of the state on the day of presenting the budget. “Were you not aware about the financial bankruptcy of the state when you made tall promises to the people of Punjab through your party manifesto? This government even promised the moon to the people in the governor’s address. Suddenly, you are claiming there is no money,” said Phoolka.

Taking potshots at the FM, who in his speech claimed that there was an increase of Rs 266 crore for the health sector, Phoolka said, all these claims were misleading. “This is actually the capital expenditure kept for the health sector and this amount will be spent on buildings and other infrastructure. Health minister Brahm Mohindra even thanked the finance minister terming it an achievement. Every MLA is this House is terming shortage of staff in the health centres as the main problem in their constituency, but your budget is completely silent,” said Phoolka.

“Last year the budget allocation in the education sector was Rs 9,678 crore, which has been increased to Rs 10,498 crore this year. You made it your achievement. But reality is that last year the allocation on education was 11% of the total budget and this year, you have decreased it to 9%,” said the AAP leader. He claimed even states such as Himachal and Haryana have allocated 17% and 15% for education.

“The increase you are showing is not enough for releasing even dearness allowances. What about posts of teachers lying vacant in schools and colleges,” said Phoolka.

On farm debt waiver, the leader of Oppositions said it appeared that the CM and the FM have not discussed the issue. “One day before the budget, the CM announced a total waiver of crop loan. Whereas next day, a provision of only Rs 1,500 crore was made for debt waiver. Why are you playing with the emotions of the farmers?” questioned Phoolka.

AAP MLA Baljinder Kaur dubbed Rs 1,500 crore for farm debt waiver as a crude joke with farmers. “Against Rs 21,000 crore of farm debt, all you have promised is Rs 1500 crore. It is a stigma on this government. Where is the free education for girls from nursery to PhD that the CM promised during his speech on Monday?” she questioned.

The Congress is following the precedent set by the Akalis. “Your words are different from your actions. You are taking credit for giving relief to acid attack victims in the budget. But a Rs 3-lakh relief is already there under the law. The government did not bother to read the law before announcing it,” she said.

AAP MLA Jagdev Singh also spoke on farmers’ issues during the debate on budget, giving suggestions without questioning the budget.

First Published: Jun 22, 2017 10:37 IST