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Donkupar slams budget, govt schemes

Shillong, March 17: Leader of Opposition in Meghalaya Assembly Donkupar Roy today criticised the budget presented by chief minister Mukul Sangma and took a jibe at the Congress-led government for having too many missions without missionaries in the fields.

Mukul, who holds the finance portfolio, had presented the 2017-18 budget on Wednesday with a fiscal deficit of Rs 1,236 crore.

Roy, who initiated the debate on the budget speech delivered by Mukul in the House, said the budget should have reflected achievements and visions, and there was no indication about the health of the state's economy.

He said the chief minister contradicted himself when he said that the state's resource had been adversely affected by implementation of the recommendations of the Supreme Court committee on road safety to impose the ban on sale of liquor near national and state highways, educational and religious institutions, as well as the ban on coal mining by the National Green Tribunal.

"I find it contradictory because if you say the gross domestic product of the state has increased, it means that the ban has not affected the health of the economy," Roy pointed out while stating that in reality the ban on mining had hampered the economic activities and revenue of the state.

He also took a jibe at the government over its various mission-mode programmes.

"Meghalaya perhaps is the only state in the Northeast having too many missions but no missionaries in the fields. How do we expect to accomplish the missions? The objective of having such missions is good but without trained manpower, implementation of the programmes will fail. We should train people and make them work with a sense of responsibility and feeling that the missions belong to them and they should work for the good of the people," Roy said.

He said schemes should be given to determined beneficiaries to ensure success in the implementation of government flagship programmes.

He also said there was no mention of strengthening the legal profession in the state by having good lawyers and demanded that a national law university be established in the state.

Joining Roy in the debate, Ardent Miller Basaiawmoit, an MLA of the Opposition Hill State People's Democratic Party (HSPDP), cautioned the government to spend its resources wisely and termed the budget as "reeling under the grip of an unhealthy trend".

"The budget has failed to adhere to conditions laid down under the Meghalaya Fiscal Responsibility and Budget Management Act in terms of fiscal deficit. According to cash budget, the actual fiscal deficit is Rs 3,071 crore, including borrowings, and not Rs 1,236 crore as projected by the chief minister in his budget estimates," Basaiawmoit said.

Therefore, Basaiawmoit said, "if this trend continues, a time will come when the government will not be able to invest in the social sector."

Asking the government to spend public money wisely, the HSPDP leader demanded that the populist chief minister's housing scheme should be done away with since the state is also implementing the Prime Minister's Awas Yojana.

In this context, he also pointed out that MLAs were providing corrugated galvanised iron sheets in their respective constituencies.

"There are many BPL families who do not own land in the state. Even if they are provided corrugated galvanised iron sheets, they may sell it at a throwaway price to someone else. Instead, the government should invest the state resources in setting up cold storages and provide minimum support price to help the farming community in the state," Basaiawmoit added.


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