Srinagar: National Conference on Tuesday termed the 2016 State Budget presented by Finance Minister Dr. Haseeb Drabu as mediocre and disappointing and said it lacked imagination and empathy.
National Conference Spokesperson in a statement issued here said the only saving grace in the budget speech was a newly discovered, misplaced sense of humor by a Finance Minister who remains indifferent towards the misery and sufferings of hundreds and thousands of flood victims in the State.
Dr. Haseeb Drabus famed magic wand has failed to deliver for the second time and on both these instances our flood victims have been the worst sufferers of his flawed priorities. This budget as expected is an unimpressive cosmetic exercise to claim credit where none has been duly earner and has only cataloged this governments irresponsible and indifferent attitude, he said.
The NC Spokesperson also lashed out at the PDP-BJP Government for choosing to penalize the Tourism Industry when it should have rather helped tourism players to revive their businesses after the devastation of 2014 floods.
The Finance Minister has decided to increase the aviation turbine fuel levy up from 20 to 25 per cent and this will directly hit the tourism sector in the State. The increase in aviation fuel levy will increase travel costs and reduce the inflow of tourists into the State. There are also apprehensions that this step would force carriers to reduce number of flights coming into the State - ironically at a time when the State Government should have focused on incentivizing and facilitating an increased connectivity to boost tourism - a practice adopted to great success in other tourism destinations, the NC said.
The Finance Minister has failed to acknowledge the severe distress in the Horticulture Sector and has ignored repeated suggestions from horticulturists and orchardists to take decisive steps to alleviate their grievances. Horticulture forms the backbone of our economy along with Tourism and the Finance Minister has ignored both these sectors in the Budget, the NC Spokesperson further stated.
The NC Spokesperson also expressed disappointment on the complete and conspicuous absence of any initiatives to tackle growing rates of unemployment in the State.
The PDP-BJP Government has already abandoned visionary self-employment and skill-development schemes of the previous Omar Abdullah-led Government. They have failed to announce schemes and packages to train our unemployed youth as per the demands of the job market. There is a dire need to increase employment outcomes for our youth and this Government has yet again failed on that front, the NC Spokesperson said.
The Finance Ministers refusal to spell out a time-frame for the return of power projects modalities for which he claims are being drawn out is a reminder of this Governments lies and U-turns. The Finance Minister should openly state that the Union Power Minister is lying when he says no power projects will be returned to the State. You cannot remain silent in deference to the Union Power Minister when he categorically refuses to even consider your demands and then make such contradictory claims in the Legislative Assembly to save your skin, the NC Spokesperson added.
Be Part of Quality Journalism
Quality journalism takes a lot of time, money and hard work to produce and despite all the hardships we still do it. Our reporters and editors are working overtime in Kashmir and beyond to cover what you care about, break big stories, and expose injustices that can change lives. Today more people are reading Kashmir Observer than ever, but only a handful are paying while advertising revenues are falling fast.