The Congress termed the state budget 2018-19 as a “romantic dream” and accused the state government of merely “trading in promises”. The Leader of Opposition in the state Assembly Paresh Dhanani and other Congress leaders said on Tuesday that the budget had nothing for the growth and development of the common man in the state.
Dhanani said the state government had not reduced taxes in the budget, thus not solving problems of the “aam aadmi”. He said that the budget had no provisions to provide subsidised seeds, fertilisers to farmers and reasonable Minimum Support Price (MSP) for agricultural produce to boost farmers income.
Dhanani described the media boycott of the Assembly session during the question hour on Tuesday as a “black chapter in the history of BJP government” as it was for the first time that media boycotted the proceedings of the state Assembly. The media, he said, had to boycott the question hour because the government created hurdles in live telecast and coverage of the Assembly proceedings.
The Congress leader alleged that the state government deliberately created obstructions in live telecast. “It will be remembered as a black day in the parliamentary history of Gujarat,” said Dhanani. He added that mediapersons were earlier allowed to take cameras inside the Assembly to show live Assembly proceedings to the people.
“For quite some time, this practice has been banned and live telecast has been stopped. People have been deprived of watching the live proceedings of the Assembly and democracy has been throttled by the ruling party,” Dhanani said. Former state Congress president Arjun Modhwadia dubbed the budget as “anti-farmer”. He said there was no provision in the budget to give relief to the people from expensive education and costly medical treatment. There was also no provision to fill up the vacant posts in government hospitals and state-run educational institutions.
He said there was also no good news for those working on contract and fixed salary in government departments. There was also no mention about employment of 30 lakh unemployed youths in the state.
He said that while the state government had announced monthly stipend of Rs 3,000 for graduates, Rs 2,000 for diploma holders and Rs 1,500 for others under the Chief Minister Apprenticeship Scheme, there was a provision of Rs 272 crore only for it, which was hardly sufficient to cover one per cent of 30 lakh unemployed youths in the state.
Congress Chartered Accountant cell president Kailash Gadhvi said that while the liabilities on the state government had increased in the current budget by about 19 per cent over the previous budget, the increase in revenue receipt was only six per cent.
Overall, an ordinary budget: GCCI president
Meanwhile, the Gujarat Chamber of Commerce and Industry (GCCI) has given a guarded response to the state budget. GCCI president Shailesh Patwari described it “overall an ordinary budget”. Patwari, however, hailed the government’s target of creating new jobs for three-and-a-half lakh youths.
About the recent visit of Israel Prime Minister to Gujarat, Patwari mentioned the subsequent request of the GCCI for a Centre of Excellence for Technological Research to be set up with the Israel government’s support. GCCI president said he was pleased that the “allocation of Rs 5 crore has been made for this purpose” but added that this allocation was too less. He said, “The budget did not make adequate allocation to support MSMEs in view of the global slowdown. Rs 4,410 crore has been allocated to industries and mines, out of which only Rs 843 crore has been assigned to MSMEs which is too less.”