Special Correspondent

It will drive State to debt trap, CPI(M) leader tells Assembly

  • `Ryots' Government in words, not deeds'
  • More funds sought for minorities' uplift

    HYDERABAD: M.A. Gafoor of the CPI(M) claimed in the Assembly on Tuesday that the budget presented by Finance Minister K. Rosaiah was `closer to the World Bank', rather than the people, and would drive the State into a debt trap.

    Participating in a debate on the budget, he said it was nothing but `jugglery of figures' and accused the Government of reducing allocation to the welfare sector. Quoting figures, he said the GSDP was less than the national GDP for the past three years.

    Referring to Mr. Rosaiah's claim of not levying fresh taxes, he said the revenue from excise collections had gone up from Rs.1,915 crore in 2003-04 to Rs. 3,121 crore this year. He hit out at the Government for allowing more belt shops. He said the `jalayagnam' was creating `regional differences', demanding a comprehensive water policy detailing district and region-wise allocations.

    He wanted the Government to strengthen the local bodies by devolving more funds and powers.

    G. Kishan Reddy (BJP) faulted the budget for not making any mention about the remunerative prices for various crops. "This was a farmers' Government only in words and not in deeds," he said. He pointed to the increased excise sales, reminding the ruling party of its pre-election promise to introduce prohibition in phases. He asked Chief Minister Y.S. Rajasekhara Reddy to spell out his stance on Telangana.

    Referring to Chief Minister's statement that GO 938 was issued without his notice, he demanded, in a lighter vein, a white paper on the GOs be issued and subsequently withdrawn.

    Akbaruddin Owaisi (MIM) expressed concern at the increasing public debt of more than Rs.86,000 crore. While appreciating increased allocation for minorities welfare, he wanted Rs.500 crore for their effective social and educational uplift. He demanded reconstitution of the Wakf Board with "dedicated" staff for safeguarding its properties.