Budget passed, Cong walks out
The Punjab Assembly on Friday passed the budget proposals after opposition Congress members walked out of the House saying the party will not endorse the Appropriation Bill as the budget estimates were ‘incorrect’.
This was preceded by a war of words between the treasury and opposition benches. After discussion and voting on 30 demands for grants relating to the budget estimates, Finance Minister Dr Upinderjit Kaur put the Appropriation Bill 2011 for the consideration of the House. But former finance minister Lal Singh of the Congress objected to it alleging that the figures in the budget estimates were not correct.
Citing “quick” fall in Punjab’s growth rate from 8.8 per cent in the Governor’s address to 7.8 per cent in the FM’s budget speech, Singh said that Kaur had claimed that Punjab was one of the fastest growing states but in reality the state had slipped to 21st rank from nine. Moreover, he said, the state’s industrial growth rate has fallen from 21.21 per cent to 11.99 per cent in 2009-10. “We are behind Bihar and Orissa and still we are one of the fastest growing. The state’s Economic Survey for 2011-12 places us to rank eighth in per capita income and FM said we were fourth. There are far too many inconsistencies in the documents and figures being cited by the FM,” Singh said.