Former CM PK Dhumal criticises the state Budget

Former Himachal Pradesh Chief Minister PK Dhumal on Tuesday termed the Budget "regressive" and said the claims of government regarding the implementation of poll promises were "false and misleading".

PTI| Last Updated: Mar 24, 2015, 00:59 AM IST

Shimla: Former Himachal Pradesh Chief Minister PK Dhumal on Tuesday termed the Budget "regressive" and said the claims of government regarding the implementation of poll promises were "false and misleading".

Initiating a debate on Budget in the Assembly, Dhumal termed it a 'jugglery of figures' and said it did not make a reference to vital issues.

Dhumal asserted that the non-tax revenue has reduced from Rs 1915 crores to Rs 1399 crores, the ratio of GDP to revenue has decreased from 20.89 to 17.98 while total plan expenditure has reduced from 5.93 per cent to 4.62 per cent between BJP rule in 2011-12 and Congress rule in 2014-15.

Power generation has decreased from 1950 million units to 1815 million units, industrial production had slided from 18.5 percent to 16.5 percent and Gross State Domestic Product (GSDP) has declined from 14.8 per cent in 2011-12 to 12.6 per cent in 2013-14, Dhumal said.

On the other hand, the capital expenditure and borrowings have increased from Rs 1984 crore in 2011-12 to Rs 3634 crore in 2014-15, he added. The inflow of foreign tourists to Himachal has come down significantly from 5 lakh to 3.90 lakh.

Though per capita income has touched 1.04 lakh, Dhumal said, the percentage increase (13 per cent) was more during the BJP rule. The budget was heavily funded with central assistance, with 50.32 per cent revenue coming as grant-in-aid and 16.33 per cent as share in central taxes. Borrowing mounted to 17 per cent even as state's own revenue was only 16 per cent, he added.
Criticising the Budget for making no mention of the status of Theog-Hatkothi road project, Dhumal questioned the rationale behind allowing mixed land use to regularize irregularities and queried how is it that labour laws are not benefiting anyone as claimed by the government.

Dhumal asked the government to come out with a "factual status" on announcements made in the last year's Budget regarding setting up of city museums and entertainment parks among others.

Heated exchanges were witnessed between former Congress minister Asha Kumari and BJP leaders during the discussion when Kumari criticised the NDA government for scrapping the "special category state" status for the state and transferring 32 centrally sponsoring schemes which would hit the state adversely.

Describing the budget as pragmatic, she said it was progressive and best under the prevailing circumstances.

When Kumari referred to the Union budget and alleged that the government had become "puppet" in the hands of the corporates, BJP member Suresh Bharadwaj vehemently opposed the remarks.