Shimla, Mar 5
Himachal Pradesh Congress on Saturday criticized the state budget for 2022-23, while accusing the government for hiding fiscal debt and loan liabilities. This was stated by the leader of Opposition Mukesh Agnihorti while initiating budget discussion in the state assembly here on Saturday. “Budget mismanagement which would push the state towards bankruptcy seems to be a request (antim ardas) in front of the electorate ahead of assembly polls in the state for getting their mandate.” commented Agnihotri.
He said that the budget document has projected 8.3 per cent growth rate in the financial year 2021-22 which is impossible if we compare it with minus 6.2 in 2020-21. I want to ask what magic you have done to make such a turnaround in the economy,” he questioned, while terming it as mere hollow statistics. He accused the Chief Minister Jai Ram Thakur government of utilizing government funds for party functions and said the government failed to address the concern of employees on old pension scheme and policy for outsource employees.
He lashed at the government for filing FIR against 44 employees for their protest of seeking old age pension and added that the government has done injustice with them and also with unemployed youth. In addition, there is no mention on resource generation or mobilization, he said while asking the state government to list austerity measures to curb the wasteful expenditure during their tenure to rescue fiscal debt.
Chief Minister Jai Ram Thakur while countering Agnihotri’s allegations, said the opposition members shouldn’t distort facts and cry foul or scams without any concrete evidence.
“We know that being in opposition you have to criticize the state government as no one expects appreciation ,” he added. He also accused the opposition leader for spreading lies on debt liabilities of the state and said no government is able to run its affairs without borrowing. Justifying the borrowing CM added that during our (Current State govt) tenure, loans were necessitated due to Covid pandemic while the previous Congress government took debt only for their luxuries as there was no pandemic-like situation, then.
He added that various schemes which were announced in the budget were just extensions of previous one which were started in the first year of BJP rule and these have been further strengthened by the government.