HARYANA FINANCE Minister Captain Abhimanyu on Thursday said the state was faring better on all fiscal parameters now than it did during the previous Congress regime. He pointed out that the government has brought down the revenue deficit from 1.9 per cent, during the Congress government’s reign to 0.94 per cent in the state budget for the year 2017-18. A target has been fixed to make it zero per cent by 2019, the minister asserted.
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Congress MLAs staged a walkout, saying the finance minister did not have any satisfactory reply to the questions raised by them. Replying to the discussion on budget in the Assembly, Captain Abhimanyu said the opposition cannot find a reason to criticise the budget and claimed that the state was in a debt trap. Dismissing all allegations as baseless, he said the Gross Domestic Product (GDP) of the state, which was 5.7 per cent in 2014-15 first went up to 8.7 per cent last year and GDP of nine per cent is projected for 2017-18.
“The Congress government had taken huge loans that were in the accounts of power companies. We took over the loans and are paying lesser interest now. Still they are blaming us. In the present budget, we have taken the capital expenditure up to 21 per cent which is a record,” said Abhimanyu. He further said that post-demonetisation, VAT collection has increased by 16.7 per cent. Earlier in the day, calling it a hollow and directionless budget, Choudhry described it as a “rudderless ship with no anchorage”. “Unfortunately, the finance minister is saying that the economy is in the pink of health. This is the third budget that the government is presenting and cannot hide behind the reason that this is the legacy of the previous government. I want to compliment the FM for making the best of a bad job,” she said.
The CLP leader said the excise policy during the Congress tenure ended cartelisation. However, the excise policy announced recently had reversed this. Besides, under the Fasal Bima Yojana, premium was taken from farmers but they have not been compensated for crop loss, added Choudhry. Another BJP MLA Kamal Gupta said concerns raised by the opposition about increasing debt were unfounded.