April 24, 2024

BUDGET: Ruling members shower bouquets, opposition brickbats

TAP | Updated: March 14, 2017


ITANAGAR, Mar 14: The 2017-18 Budget presented by Deputy Chief Minister Chowna Mein received bouquets and brickbats from ruling as well as opposition members on Tuesday.

Participating in Budget discussion, former Arunachal Pradesh Chief Minister Nabam Tuki urged the state government to continue the ambitious Chief Minister Universal Health Insurance Scheme which had benefitted all as well as the government in curtailing expenditure to the tune of Rs 30-40 crore annually against medical reimbursement.

Participating in the budget discussion, the lone Congress MLA in the house pointed out that he had introduced the scheme during 2013 by increasing royalty on alcohol to meet the required expenditure which had benefitted over 11,000 patients in the state through cashless treatment in various empanelled hospitals across the country.

He cited the example of MNREGA scheme launched by the UPA government at the Centre which has been continued by the BJP-led NDA government.’

Tuki also requested to take the skill development scheme on priority through vocational training for gainful employment to the unemployed youth of the state.

Terming the Budget 2017-18 as a continuation of the budgets of previous regimes, Tuki said that there was no mention of surplus or deficit in the budget speech through proper indication of charts.

Deputy Chief Minister Chowna Mein, who also holds the Finance portfolio presented the 285 crore budget in the assembly on March 10 last.

“The Revenue expenditure projected in the budget (Rs 10,473 crore) is surprisingly higher than the Capital expenditure (Rs 4177 crore). The budget reflected more expenditure in salary components heads than development,” Tuki said adding it might yield good results in future.

He said the Fourteenth Finance Commission (FFC) grants was enhanced because of hard efforts of the state government employees who have sought allocation on geographical area criteria instead of population.

Referring to lacunae in certain areas as witnessed in the Budget, the senior Congress legislator said that there was no mention of MLA Local Aread Development fund and  suggested for doubling the amount from two crore.

Senior BJP lawmaker Chow Tewa Mein participating in the discussion, described the budget as ‘innovative’ encompassing all sections.

Stating that unless there was effective monitoring, no development work would take place, Mein informed that eighty per cent of the youth under his constituency Chowkham were opium addicts and urged the government to go for alternate livelihood by encouraging cash crops cultivation commercially.

Referring to the flood menace in his constituency by Lohit, Kamlang and Bereng rivers, Mein urged for urgent flood protection measures.

He said over 20-30 thousand Chakma and Hajong refugees were living forcefully in reserve forest areas even they were evicted on several occasions.

PPA member Mutchu Mithi questioned the reasons behind increasing numbers of districts, upgrading administrative set-ups to increase administrative expenditures.

“More and more people are becoming dependent on government while many people have no means of livelihood; he pointed out and congratulated the government for the budget with radical measures despite limited resources.

Another PPA member Markio Tado taking part in the discussion said that the budget should be implemented at the grassroots level to benefit the masses.

Alleging that Rajiv Gandhi Gramin Vidyutkaran Yojana (RGGVY) schemes were implemented only in papers but not in practical, Tado suggested for fund provision for all the incomplete projects in the state.

While BJP MLA Kento Rina suggested for equal distribution of funds in all districts of the state, senior PPA member Nikh Kamin said, “If health policy is wrong, only a few people will suffer but if education policy is wrong, the entire society will suffer.”

Kamin suggested for evolving a strong monitoring mechanism for all schemes to check corruption and added that crores of fund were sanctioned for procuring medicines but medicines were not available in health centres to which Health & Family Welfare Minister Jomde Kena intervened to claim that medicines were available in all centres.

“You will never get the right picture sitting in air conditioned rooms for lack of an effective system,” Kamin said countering Kena.

Senior BJP legislators Tage Taki said that the budget was prepared keeping in view the needs of the common people.

Taki while quoting media reports informed the house that Assam government has been trying to convince the people to facilitate completion of the 2000 mw Lower Subansiri project, an encouraging move for the state.

While advocating for new ideas to enrich the state’s coffer, Taki suggested to implement micro and macro hydro projects to achieve the goal.

PPA senior leader Rajesh Tacho resented for neglecting his constituency (Anini) and sought the government support for providing fund for cash crops cultivation.

Participating in the discussion, senior BJP member Lombo Tayeng termed Aadhar coverage in the state as ‘encouraging’ and termed the budgetas ‘Pro-People’.

While he suggested steps to check pilferage of revenue but opposed permitting Arunachal Pradesh Public Service Commission (APPSC) to recruit Group C posts.

Tayeng also suggested for transport subsidy to farmers for easy forward linkage for their products with incentives.