Wednesday, February 23, 2011

State budget ignores burning problems: Dr.JP

The Andhra Pradesh Government, which has budgeted to spend Rs.352crore a day or Rs.15 crore an hour during 2011-12, lacks direction in that it has ignored key areas which are crying for attention, commented Lok Satta Party President Dr. Jayaprakash Narayan here today.

Addressing media on the State Government’s budget presented in the Assembly on February23, Dr. JP said the budget failed to touch upon measures to increase farmers’ incomes, provide livelihood opportunities to youth, establish a gas grid to accelerate industrialization, improve infrastructure in the capital city, and devolve resources and powers on local governments. The budget envisages a per capita debt of Rs.20000, and liquor as the mainstay of State’s revenue.

Party Working President D. V. V. S. Varma and leaders Katari Srinivasa Rao and P. Ravi Maruth took part in the media meet.

Dr. JP pointed out that the Government which raised its revenue from liquor in a mission mode by 54 percent in the last two years is indulging in hollow promises on eradicating poverty. Although the food grain production this year is expected to be 190 lakh tons compared to 156 lakh tons last year, the Government would not allow farmers to market their produce wherever they want. Although the State stands No.1 in horticultural production, the Government would not allocate adequate funds to promote storage, processing, and marketing in the interest of farmers and consumers.

Dr. JP said that by spending Rs.2500 crore a year on imparting skills to 10 lakh youth, the Government could have provided them livelihood opportunities. Yet the budget is silent on such a scheme.

Although agitations on regional disparities are rocking the State, the budget does not talk of decentralization of powers. A per capita allocation of Rs.1000 to local governments, costing Rs.8000 crore to the State exchequer, would have helped people address many of their problems.

Dr. JP said that although the State capital with a population of more than one crore is suffering from drinking water and drainage problems, the Government has not focused on them. Instead of taking up the third phase of the Krishna water scheme to quench Hyderabad’s thirst, the Government is squandering precious resources on unviable schemes in the name of Jalayagnam.

Dr. JP said that the budget is silent on developing a gas grid to give a fillip to industrialization. A small State like Gujarat recently attracted investment proposals worth Rs,15 lakh crore whereas our Government is boasting of having attracted investments of Rs.17000 crore in five years.

Dr. JP congratulated Finance Minister Anam Ramanarayana Reddy on limiting the deficit to 2.6 percent of the State’s GDP and successfully introducing the budget in the backdrop of the developments in the State in the last few days.

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