Tuesday, March 30, 2010

Budget passage sans debate a Betrayal of voters: Lok Satta

By sanctioning an annual expenditure of Rs.113000 crore – which works out to an expenditure of Rs.312 crore per day -- without any debate, the Andhra Pradesh Assembly had badly let down the people who had elected them, charged the Lok Satta Party here today.

Commenting on the just-concluded budget session of the Assembly, Lok Satta spokespersons V.Lakshman Balaji, Vijayendar reddy and Rajareddy said legislators squandered away precious time in shouting at each other and disrupting the proceedings instead of engaging themselves in a healthy debate and exposing the Government.

Maintenance of public order, ensuring justice for all, and rule of law are the primary responsibilities of a Government. However, Andhra Pradesh Governments irrespective of the party in power have failed on all accounts. The ongoing communal disturbances eloquently testify to the failure of public order. Yet, modernization of police force does not find any mention in the Rs.113000 crore-budget. There are no proposals to constitute an independent crime investigation department or form local courts, facilitated by central legislation.

The Lok Satta leaders said the Government had not focused on fighting corruption. They referred to societies of women workers which look after sanitation in Greater Hyderabad and said there are a large number of bogus societies and benami workers. Officials and politicians siphon off a large chunk of the wages paid to workers.

The Lok Satta leaders said the Government had forgotten that poverty elimination is one of its primary responsibilities. The allocations are meager, systems inadequate and service delivery appalling. “The Government seemed to believe in corporatization of public responsibility and privatization of public exchequer going by its schemes to fund education of certain children in corporate schools and ensure health through Arogyasri.”

The pathetic state of infrastructure is evident in the miseries people and industry re going through because of power holidays and power cuts. Despite drought and floods during 2009-10, no funds have been earmarked for drought or flood-proofing of the State.

The Government believed in perpetuating poverty and turning people into beggars. Political parties believed in manipulating the poor cynically and systematically. “Poverty has become the currency of vote bank politics.”

The Government has failed to use the budget as a tool to restructure governance. Although the State is a huge beneficiary of central funds by way of share in taxes, grants in aid and Union Government-sponsored schemes, the State Government would not devolve powers or resources on local governments and empower people.

They pointed out that Lok Satta Party President Dr. Jayaprakash Narayan would like to apologize to the people on behalf of all well-meaning legislators and on behalf of the party for betraying them by not discharging their duty as legislators.

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