Oppn dubs Haryana budget as disappointing; JJP says it's progressive, people-friendly

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Chandigarh, Mar 12 (PTI) Opposition Congress and INLD on Friday termed the Haryana budget 2021-22 as “disappointing” and claimed that there is no relief in it for any section of society, but BJP's coalition partner JJP hailed it is “people-friendly” and “progressive”.

The Haryana government presented a Rs 1.55 lakh crore budget with health, agriculture, education and infrastructure identified as key priority areas. Congress leaders Bhupinder Singh Hooda and Randeep Singh Surjewala described the budget as “disappointing”. However, Deputy Chief Minister Dushyant Chautala, who is a leader of the Jannayak Janta Party (JJP), a coalition partner of the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP), termed the budget as “progressive, people-friendly and visionary”. “It will pave the way for unprecedented economic progress in the state,” Dushyant Chautala told reporters. Talking to reporters after Khattar had presented budget estimates for fiscal 2021-22, Hooda said people are still struggling from the disruptions caused to the economy by the COVID-19 pandemc.

“The chief minister's two-and-a-half hour long budget speech did not provide any relief or help to any section including farmers, labourers, workers, businessmen and home markers,” the Congress leader said.

Hooda, the leader of opposition in the assembly, claimed Khattar's “marathon budget speech yielded nothing”. He alleged that the chief minister deliberately prolonged the budget speech “only to mislead and confuse people”. Hooda claimed the government has reduced allocation for education in the budget despite making repeated claims earlier to do otherwise.

“An attempt has been made to confuse the public by adding technical education to the education budget,” he added. The former chief minister also expressed concern over the alleged deteriorating financial health of the state.

“The financial situation of the state has become very fragile today due to the policies of the government. The government has barely 5 per cent budget left for developmental works after paying loans, interests, salaries and allowances to the employees. That is why there is a question mark on the announcements being made by the government. How will the announcements be completed without adequate financial resources,” he questioned? “The BJP government is pushing the state into debt and is taking Haryana towards bankruptcy,” he alleged. Hooda said “the most disappointing aspect of the budget” is that it has no vision. Dushyant Chautala, however, claimed the budget not only ensured money for every section but would also strengthen the state’s infrastructure.

“The state government has accorded top priority to agriculture, farmers, rural development, employment for the youth, new roads and railway lines and promotion of investment in the state,” he said.

He also hailed the hike in the allowance for the elderly people.

Abhay Chautala of the Indian National Lok Dal (INLD) described the budget as 'jugglery of figures which provides no relief to common people”.

Both Abhay Chautala and Hooda said the old age allowance was raised by mere Rs 250 as they slammed the government for making grand announcements but delivering very little.

Old age pension has been increased by just Rs 250 even though the JJP had formed an alliance with the BJP on the condition of increasing the allowance to Rs 5100… the promise has remained unfulfilled, Hooda claimed.

Meanwhile, Surjewala said the budget was “directionless” and had “once again disappointed people” while raising concern over the state’s “mounting debt”. Chief Minister Manohar Lal Khattar, who also holds the finance department portfolio, presented his second budget in the state assembly here. Presenting the paperless budget, Khattar proposed no fresh tax. He proposed a budget of Rs 1,55,645 crore for 2021-22, an increase of 13 per cent over 2020-21’s budget of Rs 1,37,738 crore. PTI SUN VSD RHL