JAMMU: Former Finance Minister and senior People’s Democratic Party (PDP) leader, Muzzafar Hussain Beigh Sunday slammed the recently- passed budget as ‘self praise’ exercise by the government amidst “rising fiscal deficit, non-spending of plan money and decline in expenditure rate.”
“The budget speech delivered by Finance Minister Abdul Rahim Rather is an obituary reference and self praise as the state is miserably lagging behind in economic growth, per capita income and per capita plan expenditure in comparison with other states and fiscal deficit is rising by every passing year,” Beigh said in response to the budget speech by Finance Minister, Abdul Rahim Rather in Legislative Assembly on Thursday.
He said that as per Economic Survey report, 2013-14, Jammu and Kashmir is at second last number at 22nd position in terms of economic growth among all other states in India in 2009-10 and now in 2013-14, Jammu and Kashmir has slipped down to 24th Position.
He added that currently the per capita income of Jammu and Kashmir is 44533 as compared to 60,000 at national level where as per capita plan expenditure is around 5000 as compared to 7500 at national level.
“Where is the growth? Is this the growth that you are talking about? We are far below the national level in terms of growth components,” Beigh said.
He said that the state does not care about assessing which district requires how much of funding.
“As Finance Minister you (Rather) have to checking whether the allocated funds are being utilized properly are going to pockets of officers,” said Beigh.
He said that Agriculture is the backbone of our economy has shown only 2 percent of growth in it.
“This has led to inflation, unemployment and decline in purchasing power,” said Beigh.
He also criticized the state government’s recent decision of creating 700 new administrative units saying that the government does not have budgetry support to manage this.
“The Ganaie commission has suggested around 22 new administrative units in state with annual expenditures of Rs 722 crores, but the government increased it three times for vote bank politics. Where is the road map to run these units and afford their expenditures mentioned in budget for 2014-15,” he said.
He said that given the creation of new administrative units with no clear budgetry roadmap for them National Conference will mislead the people in future no matter whether they are in power or not. “You (National Conference) can mislead the people whether you emerge in power or not in future. It will be a win-win situation for you. If you will not come in power in next election new government can’t afford to run these newly created units and you will try to provoke people against that government. But if you are in power and NDA government you will say that Modi has stopped funds for such units,” he said. He said the government has no word in the budget speech on what has done to retrieve the hydroelectric power projects back from NHPC.
He also questioned the government over its failure in tax collection saying that there were 9132 tax evasion cases in 2011-12 out of which 1703 were related to commercial tax amounting to around Rs 60 crore.
“In 2013-14 number of commercial tax evasion cases are around 2452”, he said.