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Gen discussion on budget continues for second day

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Bhopal, Feb 23 (UNI) Ruling BJP today hailed the 2006-07 budget as unprecedented and development-oriented in the Madhya Pradesh Assembly, while the Opposition Congress described it as self-praise.

Initiating the general discussion over budget after lunch recess, BJP member Lalsingh Arya said the state had plunged into 'Lalten Yug (lamp age)' during the erstwhile Congress regime due to severe power crisis.

However, in the budget, the state Finance Minister has made provisions for Rs 170 crore and Rs 385.22 crore for NVDD's and MPSEB's power projects respectively.

He said the budget reflected the government's commitment towards development due to its focus on dalits, tribals, backward class and other sections besides welfare schemes.

Mr Arya said the government has promised that not a single primary school building will be vacant and various schemes will be initiated to motivate SC and ST students towards education.

Senior Congress MLA and former minister Indrajeet Singh Patel said the budget will be considered praiseworthy if the public appreciated it.

''The BJP's poll promises were yet to be fulfilled. These included providing single-bulb connection, regularisation of shikshakarmis, gurujis, contract teachers, and panchayatkarmis and reducing tax on gas and diesel,'' he said.

Alleging that the budget had nothing to offer for Dalits and poor, he said the debt on the state government had increased from Rs 24,000 crore from the previous Congress regime to Rs 45,000 crore.

BSP MLA I M P Verma said though the budget has promised to raise excess revenue of Rs 970 crore, a Rs 48 crore deficit budget has been presented.

Participating in the debate, SP MLA and former minister Vanshmani Prasad Verma said the BJP self-praise will not hide the fact, which is evident from its MLAs demanding various schemes for their constituencies.

BJP MLA Shankarlal Tiwari said Finance Minister Raghavji has presented an increase of Rs 970 crore in revenue which was praiseworthy.

Pointing out that Mr Raghavji has promised to present a zero deficit budget in 2008-09, he said the Opposition was needlessly criticising the budget.

JD(U)'s Saroj Bachchan, SP's Krisn Kumar Singh, BJP's Durglal Vijay and Congress' Ghanshyam Singh also participated in the two-half-hour-long debate that witnessed heated exchange on certain issues including exempting 'Janeo' from tax.

UNI SD-PS VD GAC2203

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