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Posted at: Mar 12, 2018, 12:47 AM; last updated: Mar 12, 2018, 12:47 AM (IST)

Think out of the box

Sustainable development of Haryana
Think out of the box

The fourth Budget of the ML Khattar government in Haryana has predictably reflected the sorry state of the CM’s style of functioning — governance without a grand political vision. Finance Minister Capt Abhimanyu strove hard to paint a rosy picture of the state’s economy despite a shockingly high debt burden. It soared by 127 per cent in less than four years of BJP rule to Rs 1,61,159 crore — more than the annual budget of Rs 1,15,198 crore for the next financial year. The gloss of being a pro-farmer government fails to hide the mounting debt that has been conveniently brushed under the carpet. This spectre, if left unattended, like NPAs of banks, will return to haunt the future generation of Haryanvis.

It’s good that Capt Abhimanyu sought to align the Budget with the UN Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). Certainly, no welfare state can overlook goals of eliminating poverty and establishing strong institutions. Although the state claims a high per capita income of Rs 1.96 lakh in the country (thanks to massive contributions by Gurgaon and Faridabad), Capt Abhimanyu is unable to bridge the regional imbalance and ensure distributive justice. The poor law and order situation in the state is a major hindrance in achieving the SDGs of “peace, justice and strong institutions”.     

 It is a matter of satisfaction that expenditure for agriculture has been raised, but not without clubbing outlays of forestry into it. Mere projecting higher outlays would not transform society. More than statistical jugglery, the government needs to unveil a new vision for rural Haryana through changes in cropping patterns and opening new markets. It is heartening to note that the state government seems to have shifted its focus from the resurrection of a mythical river. But, banking on the volatile Sutlej-Yamuna Link canal to resolve real water crisis in the state may be a bridge too far. Haryana needs to go beyond tokenism and take judicious steps to amicably resolve its disputes with the neighbouring state. Plans for more medical colleges, smart towns and villages are credit worthy. But in the absence of institutional capability and a holistic vision, the Budget ends up as a patchwork of noble intentions. 


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