Nothing for poor, downtrodden in budget: Rana

Speaking in the legislative assembly, Rana castigated the finance minister for “failing” to implement his budget promises and commitments.

Umer Maqbool
Jammu, Publish Date: Jan 13 2018 12:04AM | Updated Date: Jan 13 2018 12:04AM
Nothing for poor, downtrodden in budget: RanaFile Photo

Accusing the PDP-BJP government of “failing” to implement its commitments made in the previous budgets, the National Conference MLA Devender Singh Rana on Friday targeted the finance minister Haseeb Drabu for extending the goods and services tax (GST) regime to the state.

Speaking in the legislative assembly, Rana castigated the finance minister for “failing” to implement his budget promises and commitments.

“You are taking us through dark and blind alleys for the past three years. Every time we get through blind and dark alleys, you show us a mirror of hope and light at the end of tunnel. But when we reach the end of the tunnel, it is all dark, dark and dark,” he said.

He hit out at Drabu over the extension of central GST to J&K. “You said this budget is from your conscience and heart, but where was your heart and conscience when GST was extended to the state?” he asked the finance minsiter.

“Drabu has got so much subsumed in saffron colour that he is now trying to saffronise the entire Kashmir,” Rana said, adding: “You (Drabu) used to describe yourself as a Kashmiri nationalist. But your Kashmiri nationalism has got so much subsumed in saffron colour that you have sold your soul. You mortgaged and sold your conscience when you imposed GST on this nation.”

He said that the National Conference wanted the state government to bring its own GST law to protect the state’s fiscal autonomy. “You became a champion of New Delhi and ‘told them that I am your warrior in Kashmir and everybody is against me’,” he said.

He also accused the PDP-BJP government of “disempowering” the J&K legislature, which, he said, was described by late Mufti Muhammad Sayeed as the “most empowered House.”

“When you were presenting the budget yesterday, I thought you are a municipal councillor. Now you have no powers,” he said.

Talking about the budget, Rana said that the finance minister is “trying to create a feel-good factor to hide his failures, incompetence and inadequacies.”

“This is the budget for rich, influential and famous,” he said, adding that there is “nothing for poor, youth, unemployed and other disempowered sections of the society.”

He said that the budget is also not a vision document “which I had expected from you.”

“There is no avenue for investment in the budget,” he said, adding that the government has done nothing to create knowledge economy “which is necessary for economic growth.”

“You did not make allocations to boost growth,” he said.

Rana also questioned Drabu about his previous announcements.

“Where is Dal development board? What happened to insurance of assets? You talked about creating water resources department but you have failed to provide few crores of rupees for Surinsar and Mansar lakes which are crying for attention,” Rana said. “You talked about bringing a comprehensive legislation to stop conversion of agriculture land. Where is that legislation? You did nothing.”

In a sarcastic tone, Rana remarked: “As long as you are leading the country, we are happy but in the process give something substantive to the people of J&K so that we can also become part of the growth story you are painting.”

Rana, however, appreciated the finance minister’s announcement for employees.

In the budget, Drabu had yesterday announced that the government will implement the recommendations of 7th pay commission from April 2018.

Taking a dig at Sajjad Lone, who was sitting near Drabu, Rana said: “My brother and friend Sajjad is happy about the announcement of renewable energy corporation in the budget. But be cautious and don’t believe it until the corporation starts working.”

Sajjad interrupted Rana thrice when he was attacking Drabu.

 

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