Terming it as a lax exercise on part of the government, CPI (M) State Secretary Mohammad Yousuf Tarigami has said only rosy figures have been painted in the present budget which is devoid of any relief for the common people. He said different sections of society be it the unemployed educated youth, people associated with business, agriculture, horticulture, handicrafts, causal labourers, daily wagers, contractuals, Nambardars, Chowkidars and members of Panchayas; the present budget has nothing significant to offer and instead has furthered desperation and disappointment.
Dismayed over the lopsided response to the grave unemployment crisis in the state, the CPI (M) leader observed that the figures about mere counseling sessions which according to the government have benefited to some 4500 unemployed youth out of 4.89 Lakh unemployed registered till December 2012, is indicative of the fact the present budget is devoid of any comprehensive plan to address the unemployment crisis in the state. He said it was expected from the present budget to mitigate the sufferings of the educated youth who are craving for jobs and most of them being at the verge of age bar.
The Sheri-Kashmir Employment and Welfare Programme for Youth (SKEWPY) has failed to attract the unemployed youth but no measures have been proposed by increasing capital seed components, simplifying procedure formalities and broadening their scope. Similarly, boosting about Voluntary Service Allowance, Self Employment Scheme, finance for entrepreneurship and scholarships in the present budget substantiates the fact that planners behind the present budget does not seem to have any substantive measures to tackle the unemployment crisis.
The CPI (M) leader stated that budget is silent about the delayed payment of honorariums to the casual labourers. Similarly, the budget has not mentioned anything about the marketing facilities and infrastructure for horticulture produce. He said nothing has been earmarked with regard to establishment of cold storage chains across the state for better marketing of horticulture produce. “Instead of nominal concessions in VAT and GST, the thrust should have been on agriculture, horticulture—the key sectors of our economy which continue to provide livelihood to nearly 80% of our population due to insignificant industrial base. It should have been the endeavor of the government to make farm sector attractive by further subsidization of fertilizers, pesticides and farm equipments and also reducing the interest on farm loans, besides enhancing allocations for irrigation sector. Moreover need is felt to check the import of substandard farm ingredients For making crop and livestock insurances schemes successful, no big initiatives find place in the budget in this regard,” he added.
Given the enormous quantity of mutton consumption in Jammu and Kashmir, the government has not reflected anything substantive in the present budget to make the state self sufficient in this sector and minimize its dependence on the livestock import.
He said handicrafts sector is shrinking and the people associated with the business are sure to be dismayed lot given the no response from the government in the present budget. Tarigami said though the enhancement in ex gratia relief for police personnel is appreciable but at the same time the budget has ignored the civilians in this enhancement.
The CPI (M) leader has said termed the enhancement of in remuneration of Rs 2000 per month to all Sarpanchs and a fee of Rs 300 per sitting subject to a monthly ceiling of Rs 600 per month to all Panchs inadequate and regretted the non application of mind in this regard. “Given the nature of their job, the government should have not left a big gap between Sarpanch and Panch in terms of their remuneration. Their remuneration is totally inadequate in view of the price rise,” he said while lamenting that the government has not conceded to the similar demands of Numberdars and Chowkidars whose remuneration has witnessed s light increase recently.
Summarizing his observations, the CPI (M) leader has said the government has once again shown its insensitiveness towards the basic issues before the common man and consequently the budget does not carry any mention of food security, universalization of public distribution system, solving unemployment and making social security schemes people oriented. A major chunk of population has been left out of PDS as the state was getting food grains as per 2001 census, he said adding that it would have been in the interest of the common man to provide subsidy under state share on the food grains and other daily needs.
No mention has been made of any initiative to regularize the daily wagers working in various departments for many years. The budget also lacks release of arrears in favour of the anganwadi workers and helpers under central and state share and improving their working conditions alongwith ASHAs who were rendering services tirelessly. Despite tall claims of being a welfare state, the government has shown its unwillingness to enhance their pensions and bringing transparency in the disbursement.