Cong terms Punjab budget as 'directionless'

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Chandigarh, Mar 17 (UNI) The opposition Congress has termed the Punjab Budget-2008-09 as "directionless and hollow, offering nothing to the people of the state".

"Finance Minister Manpreet Singh Badal's budget speech laced with Urdu poetry did not contain any conceret steps or measures to check the deterioration in the economy of the state", Leader of the Opposition Rajinder Kaur Bhattal said while reacting to the Budget after emerging out of the state Assembly.

The Budget has not offered any relief to the people, she said while pointing out that the SAD-BJP government had very cleverly announced any welfare measures on the pertex that such an announcement would be violative of the code of conduct which was in force due to the Panchayat polls to be held on April seven.

Mrs Bhattal said that the developmental schemes mentioned in the Budget were either centrally sponsored or were sponsored by NABARD or the World Bank. " The government has no welfare scheme of its own to offer to the people", she added.

Meanwhile the state BJP President Rajinder Bhandari termed the Punjab Budget as positive, progressive, tax-free and an optimistic Budget. The Akali-BJP combined has positively attempted to come to the expectations of every sector of the state economy and also every section of the society, he added in his reaction to the budget.

By increasing the annual plan to s. 6210 crore from Rs 5111 crore of last year which is about 21.5 per cent higher than the last approved outlay, the Finance Minister has really done a commendable job, Prof Bhandari said. By maintaining subsidies intact and also continuing with other welfare schemes inspite of various odds, the Government has definitely taken a bold step, he added.

The plan outlay of Rs 2204 crore in the power sector which is more than 100 per cent of the last year plan outlay definitely depicts the commitment of SAD-BJP government for the development of the state, he added.

UNI HS VN1836

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