The Opposition has accused Finance Minister T.M. Thomas Isaac of attempting to erode the credibility of the State budget by putting forward proposals for the next financial year, though the State government has just one month of its term left.
Reacting to the budget for 2011-12 presented by Dr. Isaac in the Assembly on Thursday, Leader of the Opposition Oommen Chandy said the government had no legal or moral right to make such announcements.
The budget proposals would come into force technically only on April 1. Once the model code of conduct for the Assembly elections came into force in March, the government's powers would be restricted to managing routine administrative affairs. Hence, the onus of implementing the proposals would be on the next government.
He said the Minister had said that the focus was on developing roads and social welfare schemes.
In his first budget, he had accused the previous United Democratic Front government of wresting the powers of the local bodies and handed over control of major district roads to the district panchayats. Now he had said that the dispute between the Public Works Department and the local bodies over the management of those roads was continuing.
The dispute arose only after the Left Democratic Front came to power and the previous government had no role in it.
He said the present government had 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 programme remained unutilised. Nothing had been done on the 10-point programme proposed by the former President A.P.J. Abdul Kalam. The project for de-silting dams had not reached anywhere.
He said new courses had been announced in 50 colleges without inviting applications or securing the proposals of universities. Some of the proposals were acceptable, but the government should have initiated them in 2007.
K.M. Mani, Kerala Congress(M) leader, 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 had been disproved by the 1.27 per cent growth registered in the primary sector and 0.25 per cent in the agriculture sector. The announcements were aimed at wooing the voters.