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Vote-on-account is cheating the people

To the editorial “Punjab Budget” (Feb 20) and the article “Manpreet Badal joins issue with The Tribune”( Feb 21), I want to add that it is very disappointing to learn that Punjab’s Finance Minister chose to present a vote-on-account in place of a regular budget. It is particularly distressing in times of recession when the people and industry of Punjab had pinned high hopes on Mr Manpreet Badal.

The budget provides the vision and blueprint of the state’s future goals. The performance of the government is also evaluated during the budget session. It serves to inform the people and shapes their opinion on who to vote for during the next polls. It makes or breaks the government. This session had unique sanctity and significance.

This session assumed manifold significance in view of the forthcoming Lok Sabha elections. Non-presentation of the budget during this session amounts to cheating the people. They have a right to know before the elections what taxes are being imposed on them or whether the sixth pay commission report would be implemented or not. The state has the constitutional duty to inform them in time.

The reasons advanced by Mr Manpreet Badal for not presenting the regular budget are not convincing. Just because certain states opted for vote-on-account, Punjab should also do the same is not credible.

In the absence of final allocations by the Planning Commission, the existing basis of annual plan allocations can be taken into account tentatively. The fiscal stimulus provided by the Central government is automatically passed on to the people of the state.



The Punjab government presented the vote-on-account budget only to conceal its poor financial health and non-performance. Only a caretaker government presents the vote-on-account budget and the Punjab government is in its third year. From the very start, the inclination of the government in postponement of the budget due to political and financial compulsions was evident. In view of the forthcoming Lok Sabha polls, the Punjab government is not having enough budget resources for even pressing expenditure such as pay revision, power and other liabilities.

It also reflects the ulterior motive of the government to hike existing taxes and impose new ones in the regular budget. The people of Punjab should take into account this indication of incapable governance before casting their vote in the forthcoming Lok Sabha polls.


Unruly leaders

The fracas at the legislative assembly in UP and AP makes us hang our heads in shame. Our politicians don’t even have the slightest compunction. These remorseless leaders are involved in brinkmanship and are forever bickering. These leaders always seek vested interests and their behaviour is often bizarre and brazen.

They are sending wrong signals to the common man. As politicians, they are an inextricable part of assembly, yet they show scant respect for it. Stern and befitting action should be taken against these unruly leaders.

UPANT SHARMA, Hoshiarpur

Dangerous pact

The Taliban-Pakistan alliance in the Swat Valley is most dangerous for peace in the region. Instead of combating the terrorists, Pakistan has yielded to a number of demands made by them. This is an acknowledgement of their increased strength and capacity to destabilse the established government. This is going to encourage them further and extend their area of operation. India, Afghanistan and the US will be their primary targets.

Pakistan may divert this army of jihadis to attack vital targets in India. Already, they have declared that they will fight on the side of Pakistan in case of a conflict with India.


The mismanaged lakes

I congratulate you for the editorial “When lakes go dry” (Feb 25), taking notice of the plight of the lakes in Faridabad district. Their fate is not the result of any natural calamity but is solely due to manmade mistakes in managing its water resources.

Closer home, a similar fate awaits Sukhna Lake. Just imagine the Sukhna without water or Chandigarh without the Sukhna! A large quantity of water which used to find its way in the lake has been allowed to be mopped up by water-consuming schemes like check-dams at its upstream side. All this is continuing at a rapid pace without proper accounting of the total water availability.

A stage has reached where there is no reasonable guarantee that even the present capacity of the lakes will be filled up completely in normal years. Despite this huge shortage of water, the UT government, in concurrence with the Government of India, is going to increase the capacity of this lake at a cost of over Rs 50 crore by removing 45 lakh cubic metres of silt from its bed. Nobody knows of what use this additional capacity will be when there is not enough water even for the present one.

S P MALHOTRA, Former Engineer-in-Chief, Irrigation, Haryana, Panchkula



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