Budget not a surplus one, says Bommai

BANGALORE, MARCH 24. The Government should not claim that the Budget for 2005-06 is a surplus one, as it has given with the right hand and taken away with the left.

Only a White Paper articulating the financial status of the State and its commitment to social and ecological stability and equity will convince the people about such a claim, Basavaraj Bommai (Janata Dal-U) said in the Legislative Council today.

Participating in the discussion on the budget, Mr. Bommai chose to speak extensively on the commitment of the Government to what he called ecological stability along with social equity.

He gave several examples to show that the Government has cut back on several important sectors and short-changed several categories of beneficiaries to show a surplus budget.

He criticised the Government for paying no more than lip service to the recommendations of the D.M. Nanjundappa committee report on regional imbalances.

Mr. Bommai demanded to know what specific action has been taken to implement the report and begin the process of bringing the backward districts of north Karnataka on a par with the more developed districts of the State.

The report has said Rs. 2,000 crores should be earmarked each year for giving the most backward taluks an edge in welfare schemes, but the Government has not cared even to focus on the 39 most backward taluks listed in the report.

Mr. Bommai said a time-bound plan of action is needed and not piecemeal acts of largesse to make north Karnataka truly move forward.

He wanted to know how much of the Rs. 377 crores allocated for the social sector has actually reached the beneficiaries.

Ecological deficit

Quoting from reports and studies of the Washington-based Worldwatch Institute, which tracks the environment, Mr. Bommai said the economic growth in just one year, 2000, was found to be equal to the rate at which the economy grew during the entire 19th Century. This indicates that the earth is hurtling towards an ecological deficit, with serious consequences.

The budget, however, does not show any sensitivity to these concerns, and there is no commitment on issues such as reducing carbon emission or conserving water and forest resources, he said.

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