New Delhi, Mar 22: In a sharp attack on the government, the BJP today said it has come to a standstill due to the “perpetual crisis” and weak political leadership.
Initiating the discussion in Lok Sabha on the General Budget, senior BJP leader Jaswant Singh said the government seems to be an “illusion” as no decision has been taken in view of many scams which have hit the UPA government.
He targeted the government for price rise, fiscal deficit, black money and lack of investment in the country. Singh said the civil servants are unwilling to take any decision as they do not want to commit any mistake.
“This indicates weak political leadership of the country,” he said.
Singh said it has been “condemned to perpetual crisis” and referred to the problems being faced by the UPA coalition from its allies.
“If you succeed, it is good. We want you to succeed. But your government does not want to succeed,” he said.
The BJP leader expressed concern over the high rate of fiscal deficit and said certain state governments have been more successful than the Centre in tackling fiscal deficit.
“The states have been performing better than the Centre. The states are concentrating on capital account which resulted fall of fiscal deficit while the Central government is concentrating on consumption,” he said.
Singh said there has been illusion of national confidence. “Please tell the truth. Unless we discuss things truthfully, we can't solve problem,” he said.
Taking a dig at the government, the BJP leader said it seems to have too many economists in the government.
“Too many cooks spoil the broth. But here, too many cooks are not only spoiling the broth but not allowing broth to be cooked,” Singh said.
Specifically targeting the budget, the former Finance Minister dubbed it as “adrift” and said too many ingredients had been put into it.
He, however, showered praise on Pranab Mukherjee by describing him as a “very illustrious Finance Minister” who is given many many responsibilities.
In this context he said he had learnt that Mukherjee had drafted the reply of new Railway Minister Mukul Roy. To this, a smiling Mukherjee denied saying, “I am already over burdened.”
“I am marvelled at your governance skill,” he said. The BJP leader asked the Finance Minister to revive the spending powers of the common people by taking welfare schemes and suggested that “affordable food” to all should be his central focus.
Singh expressed concern over the lack of investment from abroad and said even Indian businessmen now prefer to invest in foreign land than investing in India.
“Please reverse it.” He also claimed that there has been rampant corruption in flagship development schemes like MNREGA through which people like village heads are making money. “You have perverted the labour system of the country,” he said.
The BJP leader said petty corruption has been taking place every where due to “governmental inefficiency”. “Petty corruption is cruelly, cruelly killing,” he said.
Singh said the government has dealt a “triple-whammy” on the citizens by not curbing shortages, inefficient handling of inflation and by not checking corruption.
“We all are responsible for anything that is going wrong. But you being in the government bear the principal burden. Let us all act before time runs out,” he said.
Sanjay Nirupam (Cong) hailed the Finance Minister for presenting a balanced budget despite various pulls and pressure faced by the economy in the midst of a global financial crisis.
He said the country has benefited due to various schemes implemented by the government like the Jawaharlal Nehru National Urban Renewal Mission, NREGA, NRHM and ICDS. Nirupam said the UPA government had retained schemes launched by the NDA like the Sarva Shiksha Abhiyan and the Pradhan Mantri Gram Sadak Yojana.
He said the Prime Minister and Mukherjee had made efforts to improve the delivery mechanism but they have not achieved 100 per cent success yet.
“I hope that the delivery systems will improve in future,” Nirupam said.
He congratulated Mukherjee for launching mobile tracking systems to ensure that fertiliser subsidies reach the farmers.
On oil subsidies, he said a mechanism has to be found to make oil companies self sufficient. Nirupam wanted to know whether there was any method to rationalise diesel prices.
Nirupam sought to defend the hike in excise duty and service tax contending that it was a partial roll back to the 2008 when the taxes had been reduced in the wake of the global economic slowdown.
He said states have been performing better as the Centre had been giving more money to the states.