SRINAGAR: Opposition National Conference and Congress Monday criticised the ruling PDP-BJP coalition over its first budget, which they described as “unimpressive” and “a jugglery of imaginative figures”.
Strongly opposing the budget during discussions in the Legislative Assembly, Congresses’ Nawang Rigzin Jora called it a “mere jugglery of imaginative figures”.
“It has nothing in it for the poor people and the unemployed. Tourism sector, which is backbone of the state’s economy, has been ignored. The agriculture sector has also been ignored,” Jora, who was the tourism minister’s in the previous government, said.
Jora asked the government to initiate steps for making handicraft products “market savvy”. He also demanded an “apricot village” for Ladakh, and sought regularization of daily-wagers working in various departments.
He said the state should follow Singapore model to achieve “fiscal autonomy”.
Veteran National Conference leader and former Finance Minister, Mohammad Shafi Uri said the budget “has not impressed as far as the welfare measures for poor people is concerned”.
“The budget indicates that the government has not given due attention to important sectors like health and medical education, agriculture, industry, education which are key to development,” he said.
Shafi questioned the government’s move to privatize Lakhanpur Toll Plaza, stating that the move “would not prove fruitful”.
He raised queries about status of the proposal that the state had submitted to New Delhi for rehabilitation of the flood-hit populace.
Replying to the budget speech of the finance minister, Shafi said: “Nobody ever goes to the centre with a begging bowl, it’s the Centre-State relations guaranteed under the Constitution that union governments provide funds to the state government.”
The NC leader said 70 per cent people were related to agriculture whereas horticulture constituted an important part of state economy.
“Now people related to agriculture are changing their occupation. It would have been good if your budget would have talked about the diversification of agriculture and investment in agriculture,” he said.
He said that the government should extend 100 per cent loan waiver to the farmers on Kissan Credit card against the 50 per cent proposed in the budget.