Subhas Chandra Pattanayak

Orissa Legislative Assembly on March 10 allowed expenditure of Rs.1017.60 crore proposed by Revenue department notwithstanding its continuous failure in utilizing funds allocated.

Initiating discussion on the budget proposals, Congress member Dr. Nrusingha Sahu pointed out that the BJD-BJP coalition government has shown scant commitment to carry forward the state and therefore budgetary allocations are not utilized and funds remain dormant.

Giving statistics of expenditure in support of his observation Dr. Sahu said, out of Rs.922.75 crores in Revenue budget for 2000-01, a sum of Rs.728.12 crore was utilized.

Similarly Rs. 765.67 crore was utilized out of Rs. 1,112.45 crore allotted in 2001-02, Rs.659.47 crore utilized out of Rs.1,243.17 crore in 2002-03, Rs.855.93 crore utilized from Rs.1,362.33 crore allotted in 2003-04 and around half of the allocation of Rs.968.93 crore allotted in 2004-05.

As the government has no ability to utilize the funds placed at its disposal, there is no justification in its demand for more money, Dr. Sahu said.

BJP member Aswini patra, Brundabana Majhi, BJD member Chaianya Pr. Majhi, Bikram Keshari Berma, Jayadev Jena and Sadan Nayak of Congress were amongst participants in the dbate.

Minister Manmohan Samal, in replying to the debate, highlighted the programme for issuance of land passbooks to farmers of the state and revealed that survey of holdings in the KBK area would be taken up with the funds provided for the purpose by the central government with target for completion within six years.

Mr. Niranjan Patnaik of Congress asked the Minister to react to the recommendation of the standing committee while replying to the budget discussion.

The Assembly has adopted a new system of vetting Budget on the basis of study of budgetary proposals by Standing Committees constituted by the House for every department and this was the reason of intermission after the Budget was moved. But the Revenue Minister kept mum on observation and recommendations of the standing committee. His pleas that the department could not find enough time to study the standing committee report provoked the deputy leader of Opposition Mr. Narasingh Mishra to comment that the Minister should have better deferred the debate than rendering the standing committee report inconsequential. It is a matter of regret that the Minister has not understood the importance of the standing committee, he observed.

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