Tuesday, May 25, 2010

Financial crisis self-inflicted, Charges Lok Satta

The State Government has to shoulder the responsibility squarely for the financial mess it is steeped in today, said the Lok Satta Party here today.

Party leaders Mr. Katari Srinivasa Rao, Mr. Karthik Chandra were commenting on Chief Minister K. Rosaiah’s presentation to the Cabinet in which he reportedly said that arrears under various heads as of now amounted to more than Rs.18000 crore and his subsequent assertion that the Government was determined to continue all the schemes.

The Lok Satta leaders pointed out that the Congress Government right from the day it was elected in 2004 has pursued ad hoc policies with a view to garnering votes instead of long-term policies which help people stand on their own feet.

The leaders conceded the need for mitigating suffering among the poor and the disadvantaged through subsidies and concessions. Instead of going to the rescue of merely the needy, the State Government with an eye on election after election squandered precious resources on showering its benevolence on more than 80 percent of the people.

That the State Government itself has discovered there are more than 20 lakh white bogus/ineligible white ration card holders, 17 lakh bogus/ineligible pensioners, and lakhs of bogus INDIRAMMA housing beneficiaries testifies to the perverse manner in which funds have been utilized. Belatedly realizing that tens of thousands of ineligible students have been seeking fees reimbursements and scholarships, the Government is now trying to tighten the norms. It is persisting with its policy of free supply of power to most of the farmers without drawing a distinction between those who can afford charges and those who cannot and ignoring that the policy has led to depletion of groundwater tables. It continues to enrich corporate hospitals by encouraging high-cost terminal/tertiary care and neglecting preventive, primary and secondary care. It continues to swear by ‘Jalayagnam’ under which it has sanctioned projects with bloated estimates, called for tenders and paid mobilization advances unmindful of their feasibility and availability of resources.

The Lok Satta leaders said it is true that the economic slowdown in the State has resulted in a decline in Government revenue and exacerbated fiscal management.

Instead of regarding the present crisis as an opportunity to abandon some schemes and tweak some others rationally so that the benefits go only to the needy, the Rosaiah Government in the name of false prestige asserts it will go ahead with all of them.

The Lok Satta leaders recalled that Dr. Jayaprakash Narayan had requested Mr. Rosaiah to constitute a committee of experts to go into the desirability and feasibility of going ahead with scores of irrigation projects involving colossal expenditure.

The Lok Satta Party, the leaders recalled, sharply criticized the ruling and Opposition parties for indulging in competitive populism on the eve of the 2009 elections. It may be recalled that in their bid to unseat the ruling party which showered sops on all sections, one Opposition party promised free rice, a color television set, waiver of loans to self-help groups and cash transfer, and another party cultivable land to every poor family.

Mr. Srinivasa Rao, Mr. Karthik Chandra reiterated their party view that election-oriented sops perpetuate poverty and turn beneficiaries into beggars. A sensible Government should provide quality education and healthcare to all, employment and livelihood opportunities through skills enhancement, and empower local governments to promote good governance and eliminate corruption.

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