The Opposition has accused Finance Minister T.M. Thomas Isaac of attempting to erode the credibility of the budget by putting forward proposals for the next financial year while having just one month’s tenure ahead.
Reacting to the State budget for 2011-12 presented by Dr. Isaac in the Assembly on Thursday, Leader of the Opposition Oommen Chandy said the government has no legal or moral right to make such announcements. The budget proposals will technically come into force only on April 1. Once the model code of conduct for the Assembly elections comes into force in March, the government’s powers will be restricted to managing routine administrative affairs. Hence, the onus for implementing the proposals will be placed on the next government.
The Finance Minister has said the focus was on developing roads and social welfare schemes. Dr. Isaac, in his first budget had accused the UDF of wresting the powers of civic bodies and handed over the Major District Roads the District Panchayats. Now he has said the dispute over the management of MDRs between Public Works Department and the civic bodies was continuing. The dispute arose only after the LDF came to power and the UDF had no role in it. The LDF government has not initiated any step on the hill highway or the airport seaport road in Kochi. A sum of Rs.124 crore sanctioned by the Centre for the National Waterway still remains unutilised. Nothing has been done on the 10-point programme proposed by former President A.P.J. Abdul Kalam. The project for desilting dams has not reached anywhere. New courses have been announced in 50 colleges without inviting applications or securing the proposals of universities. Some of the proposals are acceptable, but the government should have initiated them in 2007. He accused the Finance Minister of making frivolous announcements which he was not bound to implement.
Kerala Congress(M) leader K.M. Mani said the budget speech was nothing but an election manifesto of the government. The claim that Kerala was one of the developed States in the country has been disproved by the 1.27 per cent growth registered in the primary sector and 0.25 per cent in the agriculture sector. The low growth rate in the primary sector will not trigger growth in the secondary and tertiary sectors. The rate of unemployment has swelled and the extent under paddy cultivation has declined. The announcements were aimed at wooing the voters, he said.
IUML leader C.T. Ahammed Ali said the budget has neglected the Malabar region. Than discharging its constitutional responsibility, the government was attempting to win the electorate through the budget speech, he said.