Special Correspondent

Sees repetition of previous year's promises

Says no attempt to realise promises made in last budget

Sees no market intervention programmes

Thiruvananthapuram: Leader of the Opposition Oommen Chandy has said Finance Minister T.M. Thomas Isaac's budget speech lacked credibility as it kept repeating previous years' promises without any attempt to realise them.

“The budget is directionless and has no correlation between words and deeds,” Mr. Chandy said at a press conference here on Friday.

Listing out the holes in Dr. Isaac's budget proposals, Mr. Chandy said the Finance Minister had failed to make any allocation for market intervention programme in the context of the current price spiral the State was facing.

In the previous budget, Mr. Isaac had promised funds without limits for the Kerala State Civil Supplies Corporation to carry out the monthly income plan (MIP), but had failed to release the Rs.100 crore arrears it had incurred on account of this.

Mr. Chandy said the Finance Minister had failed to make allocation for the stimulus and Malabar packages which he had announced last year. Only administrative sanction was given, but no work had been undertaken, he said.

With regard to the 13 {+t} {+h} Finance Commission recommendations, Mr. Chandy said Dr. Isaac would be better off with more devolution of funds in real terms even though the State's share had come down from 2.6 to 2.3 per cent.

The former Finance Minister and Kerala Congress (M) leader, K.M. Mani, expressed concern at the steep increase in the revenue deficit. His concern was that the revenue deficit had gone up in the revised budget estimates despite the State government's inability to spent voted budget allocation for various schemes.

Stating that the budget reflected the poor financial management of the State, Mr. Mani alleged that the Finance Minister had conveniently blamed the 13 {+t} {+h} Finance Commission. While it was true that the State's share had come down, Kerala should gain from the higher share from the divisible pool in real terms.

With regard to the proposal on stamp duty, Mr. Mani said the Finance Minister had merely tinkered with the rates without in any way relieving the tax payer from the incidence of tax. Stamp duties should have been further rationalised in view of the announcement of fair value of land, he said.

Indian Union Muslim League (IUML) leader C.T. Ahmed Ali said the budget lacked direction. It had failed to tackle the issue of price rise by coming up with allocation for market intervention.