The Pradesh Congress Committee president Karan Mahara has questioned various aspects of the budget presented in the Assembly on Wednesday. Addressing the media here on Thursday, he said that the Comptroller and Auditor General (CAG) has exposed the State government, adding that in the Social Welfare department pension was deposited in the accounts of 4,298 dead persons in addition to 4,217 pension accounts linked with one mobile phone number.
Stating that there are 8.68 unemployed persons registered in the State, he said that the State government had provided jobs to 2,299 persons in 121 job fairs organised in 2022-23.Mahara said that the budget shows the burden of debt on the State which currently has to pay interest amounting to Rs 6,161 crore. He said that a budget of Rs 302 crore for tourism is inadequate for the State where tourism is a major industry.
The PCC president said that it is known that Uttarakhand’s total income is about Rs 35,000 crore and with a budget of about Rs 77,000 crore, it remains to be seen as to how the gap will be filled. He opined that small States like Uttarakhand have been bearing considerable loss after imposition of Goods and Service Tax. The State treasury is empty as the collections are not as per the targets, he alleged. The budget focuses on appeasement considering the coming elections, he said. The budget allocation of Rs 813 crore to horticulture, floriculture and other aspects to boost self employment but this may not be possible without training the youth.
Considering the popularity of apples cultivated in Uttarakhand, he also questioned the small allocation made to the apple mission. Referring to Rs 461 crore allocated to the Industry department, he said there is a need to assess how many youth benefitted from setting up of industries and how many got jobs. Pointing to the Rs 302 crore allocated to the Tourism department, he said that it needs to be ascertained as to how much of this amount will be spent on the ground.