CHANDIGARH, March 16: Former Chief Minister and the President Punjab Pradesh Congress Committee Capt Amarinder Singh today demanded reframing and representing of the Budget 2011-12 in the Punjab Vidhan Sabha as it contained fatal flaws that needed to be corrected.
He said, the budget in its present form was not acceptable to the Congress as it was full of lies and fudged figures and hence the party will not participate in the debate on the budget.
Speaking on behalf of the Congress in the Punjab assembly today, Capt Amarinder said, the passing of the budget 2011-12 in its current form by the house will serve little purpose. He demanded that pending passage of the Budget, the government should seek a vote on account for 3 months.He demanded that the government bring out a White Paper on the true state of its finances, and the measures it proposes to undertake to rectify the fiscal mess the state is in, for discussion in the Vidhan Sabha.
The PCC President also demanded that the government constitute a joint Vidhan Sabha committee, under rule 180 of the rules of procedure and conduct of business of the Punjab Vidhan Sabha, to conduct a thorough probe into the transfer of government land, to private entities in the name of infrastructure development.
Later talking to the reporters Capt Amarinder Singh and the Congress Legislative Party leader Ms Rajinder Kaur Bhattal said, they had walked out of the Vidhan Sabha as the party was not prepared to debate the fudged figures and lies and unless and until the government did not agree to the party’s demand they will not participate in the budget debate.
Capt Amarinder said, after having carefully gone through the Budget presented by the Finance Minister on March 14, he has come to an inescapable conclusion that, the Budget 2011-12 is the biggest fudge and fraud ever attempted in the fiscal history of the State. “To know this, you only need to compare the actuals for 2001-10 with the Revised Estimates (RE) for 2010-11 and the Budget Estimate (BE) for 2011-12”, he remarked.
Elaborating he said, the BE 2009-10 projected a revenue deficit of Rs 3787.73 crore, but it actually turned out to be Rs 5251.36 crore. Shockingly, he added, the revenue deficit as per RE 2010-11 is projected at Rs3705.18 crore and at a still lower level of Rs 3378.99 crore in the BE 2011-12, that too in the face of ever- widening gap between revenue receipts and revenue expenditure. “This is nothing short of magic”, he remarked, while adding, however, the truth is that it has been done by simply over estimating the revenue receipts’ in the RE 2010-11 and by under-provisioning in the BE 2011-12.
Questioning the claim of the government about the state being fastest growing, the PCC pointed out, while the State’s economy grew by 9.25%, 6.55% and 7.84% during 2007-08, 2008-09 and 2009-10, respectively, the National economy grew by 9.34%, 6.76% and 7.96% during the same period. “How can Punjab be one of the fastest growing States of the Country if its rate of growth is below the average trend line of all the States put together?” he asked, while adding, obliviously many States achieved far higher rate of growth than that of Punjab during this period.
Referring to yet another riddle that while the Revenue deficit is projected to come down from Rs 5251.36 crore during 2009-10 to Rs 3378.99 crore during 2011-12, the Fiscal deficit is projected to sharply go up from Rs 6170.09 crore during 2009-10 to Rs 8801.33 crore during 2011-12, he pointed out, this clearly speaks of the mentality of this government to live on borrowed money, even for its day to day running. As loans, at this scale, are impossible to materialize, and the committed expenditure is unlikely to abate, the Plan of Rs 11500 crore for 2011-12 would be impossible to implement, he said.