Subhas Chandra Pattanayak
Forcing upon the people of Orissa a debt burden that may exceed Rs.1.06 Lakh Crores, the Budget placed before the Assembly on Friday is what the bureaucracy has wanted the political leadership to approve. Its total outlay is Rs.1, 39000 Crores.
The inefficient political leadership, dancing to the tune of bureaucracy, has pushed the State into such hopeless straits that this budget earmarks an amount for payment of interest that exceeds the total amount proposed for two most important sectors, viz. food security and drinking water. When the amount for food security stands at Rs.1000 crores and for drinking water is Rs.5000 crores, the amount Orissa is to pay towards the interest on the outstanding loans is Rs. 6,500 crores.
The highest amount of budgetary provisions in crores goes to Tribal Development at Rs.23,760/- followed by Rural Development (Rs.20,824/-) , Agriculture (Rs.20,714/-), Education and Skill Development (Rs.19,492/-), Infrastructure (Rs.17,809/-) , Irrigation (Rs.9713/-). When Urban Development is proposed with Rs.5,579/-, for Social Security measures the proposed allocation is Rs.4,427/- . As Disaster Management is to be addressed with Rs.4,600/-, Women Empowerment gets Rs.2,442/-. But Industrial investment is limited to Rs.237/- crores only, suggesting that the State would not put priority on its own direct earning.
How the Hon’ble members will react to this budget is no concern for us. We observe that the budget has no application of political wisdom behind it, when political leadership is to stay answerable on its implementation. The basic wrong, which the political leadership is yet to understand, is that, there should have been a pre-budget session of the newly formed Assembly for the people’s representatives to express their respective minds on the necessities of the people and to use their collective wisdom on what should have been the thrust of the Budget to what extent. From this collective political wisdom, the bureaucracy should have proceeded to give shape to the Budget and the proximate session should have become the Budget Session for the people’s representatives to give final shape to the Budget after debate.
As this has not been done, the Budget is a product of bureaucracy; the same bureaucracy that has pushed the State into economic straits, forcing us to spend more than we propose to spend for the two most essential life-saving sectors like food security and drinking water, as noted supra, in payment of interest towards the outstanding loans, failing which, we shall be so discredited that no further loan would be available to implement the Budget.
Serious attention needs be paid to this situation.