Kimmane Ratnakar of the Congress has termed the State Budget a “post-dated cheque” presented by Chief Minister Jagadish Shettar and criticised the government for not filling 1.76 lakh vacancies in various departments during the last four years.
Participating in a debate on the 2013-14 budget in the Legislative Assembly on Wednesday, Mr. Ratnakar, elected from Thirthahalli constituency, said the government has promised many things in the budget since it does not have the responsibility of implementing it. The party, which wins the next elections, would bear the responsibility of implementing the budget, he said.
Nearly 20,000 posts lie vacant in the Home Department, 16,000 in the Horticulture and Agriculture departments, 16,000 in Primary and Secondary Education, and more than 900 in Animal Husbandry and Veterinary Department. And these are the departments that directly deal with the day-to-day activities of the people, he said.
The size of the budget had increased from Rs. 21 crore in 1952 to Rs. 1.17 lakh crore in 2013. Though it had expanded enormously over the last six decades, there had been no attempt to provide quality services to the people. Nearly 50 per cent of the budgetary allocations made in the year 2012-13 had not been spent, he alleged.
Pointing out the mismatch between revenue and expenditure, he said the government on its own generates revenue of Rs. 52,000 crore while it receives Rs. 17,000 crore in the form of grants from the Centre a year. The government’s expenditure was more than Rs. 40,000 crore, which included Rs. 11,000 crore towards payment of salaries. Nearly Rs. 1,500 crore had been spent on development of temples and maths, which he termed non-development expenditure.
‘More a poll manifesto’
In the Legislative Council, Leader of the Opposition S.R. Patil termed the State Budget an attempt to build “castles in the air” ahead of the Assembly elections.
“It resembles the poll manifesto of a political party rather than a budget of the government,” Mr. Patil said while participating in a debate on the budget in the Council.
Terming the separate agri budget being presented by the BJP government as a “gimmick”, he wondered why 1,400 farmers committed suicide in the State in the last four years if the agri budget was an effective measure for them. The agricultural growth rate in the State had declined from 2.9 per cent in 2011-12 to 1.8 per cent in 2012-13, he said.