New Delhi: Every time she gets up to speak, Akali Dal's Lok Sabha member Harsimrat Kaur Badal does it with passion and clarity. It was no different on Tuesday when she participated in the debate on Budget 2012-13. And Finance Minister Pranab Mukherjee duly took note of what she had to say.
She said in the 'economic sphere of global gloom', Mukherjee with all his skills and brilliance failed to generate hope. “What could have been a big ticket reform budget has turned into a mere statement of accounts. The government has failed. Ewhat they say and what they do poles apart,” she said.
“The common man is taxed for everythin, except for eating sleeping. The common man pays half his earnings in taxes. The poverty line has been brought down but not poverty,” Kaur asserted. She said that budgetary allocation for education, health and water sanitation was less than two per cent of the budget outlay.
Saying that Mukherjee has neglected farmers, she pointed out 60 per cent of the people employed were farmers and 70 per cent lived in rural areas. The country is faced with the worst agrarian crisis, Kaur said. She said that the finance minister has taken away the cushion to the farmers by reducing the subsidy for fertiliser from Rs 90,000 crore to Rs 60,000 crore. She said that prices of fertilisers have risen by 80 per cent and that of diesel by 50 per cent. On the other hand, the minimum support price (MSP) has gone by eight per cent wheat and nine per cent for rice.
She told the House that Punjab constitutes two per cent of the land mass of India but it produces 50 per cent of the food grains in India. “If Punjab does not grow food, government will have to import food grains,” she observed.
She said that the water table in Punjab was getting depleted and that the NASA (National Aeronautical and Space Administration of the United States) had predicted that Punjab will become a desert in 15 years. She said that the state was seeking Rs 5000 crore revamp the 150-year old irrigation system and it was being ignored.
“Implement the Swaminathan Report. Empower the farmer to be self-reliant,” she pleaded.