FROM OUR CORRESPONDENT
Itagar, March 9: The opposition BJP today staged walkout in the Aruchal Pradesh Assembly opposing the Vote-on-Account presented by Chief Minister bam Tuki instead of a regular budget on March 5 last.
Opposition Leader Tamiyo Taga led the protest and announced his party’s decision to boycott the rest of the proceedings of the session ending tomorrow.
Participating in the discussion Taga wanted to know the emergencies which compelled Tuki, who also holds the fince portfolio, to present the Vote-on Account for four months beginning April 1, on the pretext of non-receipt of fund from the Niti Ayog.
“The state government has lost its vision but busy in siphoning off developmental fund,” he alleged and demanded an enquiry.
Taga also questioned as to why the session was reduced to three days instead of six days as notified earlier and accused the state government for taking the assembly casually in a parliamentary democracy.
Responding to the accusation of the opposition Tuki informed the assembly that the Vote-on-Account was presented instead of a regular budget for want of clear-cut directives from the Centre.
Stating that a full-fledged budget cannot be presented without fund from the Centre, the chief minister disclosed that the Planning Commission never called for any meeting to filise the annual plan for the state.
“The state assembly on July last year passed the Rs 4, 915 crore budget for 2014-15 anticipating fund but received Rs 415 crore less,” he pointed out and added that since the union budget had not been passed in the Parliament, under such circumstance the state government cannot prepare a regular budget out of imagition.
Assuring the house to present a realistic and people-oriented full-fledged budget soon, Tuki cited example of Manipur, galand, Mizoram and Tripura where Vote-on-Accounts were presented barring Assam, where a full-fledged budget, as the neighbouring state has its own sources of revenue.
To the opposition criticism for reducing the budget session to three days instead of six days casting aspiration on the governor and the assembly, the chief minister clarified that it was reduced by the Business Advisory Committee in which BJP MLAs are also members.
“The BJP members should have supported and assured the house to move the Centre for fund as SPA funds have been allocated equally to all constituencies without discrimition,” Tuki said while asking the opposition members not to made baseless allegations.
Responding to BJP’s charges, Tuki gave a detailed account of the excess non-plan expenditure incurred and said that the opposition instead of staging walkout should listen to the government’s clarification.
Responding to criticism from BJP member Tumke Bagra that the special investigation cell (SIC) of the state police is meant for harassing people who raise genuine issues, the chief minister said that he (Bagra) was harassed because of a previous case of fund misuse during his tenure as chief engineer and secretary.
“An officer can seek legal redressal in case of any harassment by the SIC,” he added.
The house later passed the Vote-on-Account by voice votes.