Parliament gives first nod to Budget Bill
- Oppn parties threaten to disrupt next session if their demands are not met
Jul 16, 2014-
The Parliament on Wednesday endorsed Advance Expenditure Bill 2014 which would allow the government to carry out its day-to-day expenditure from the state treasury.
The bill was presented in Parliament as it would take considerable time to endorse the full budget. With the passage of the bill, the government can now collect revenue and expend money. Similarly, Parliament also endorsed another bill, allowing the government to receive foreign grants till the passage of bill.
Opposition parties—the UCPN (Maoist) and Madhes-based parties—said that they allowed the passing of the bill considering the seriousness of the matter.
The opposition parties, however, said they would obstruct the next session of Parliament which begins on Friday, if their demands are not incorporated into the budget. The opposition had allowed the government to pass the bill following assurance that their suggestions would be incorporated into it.
Terming the budget “anti-federal”, the Maoist and Madhes-based parties say it has failed to address the aspirations of various political movements. Criticising the new budget during the theoretical discussion in Parliament on Tuesday and Wednesday, both the opposition and ruling parties put forth several demands with the Finance Minister Ram Saran Mahat.
Addressing the issues raised by the lawmakers, Mahat said it is not possible to break the past trend and bring a miracle budget under the current circumstances. He tried to convince the lawmakers saying that there is nothing much the government can do when it comes to facts and figures. “Even the American president has his limitations in the budget and obviously it is difficult to meet all the demands,” he told the lawmakers.
Brushing off allegations that he copied the economic models of World Bank and Asian Development Bank, Mahat said that he had rejected bad advice of these organisations several times.
During the discussion on Tuesday, lawmakers from his own party, including Amresh Kumar Singh, had blasted the budget as “anti-Madhes”. But Mahat maintained that the NC has never discriminated against the Madhes, insisting it as Madhes-friendly.
He said multinational companies, big industries, better road connectivity, hospitals, medical colleges and universities are established in Madhes but there are not such infrastructure in the hills. “Madhes has better road connectivity than hills which also lacks big industries and other facilities. So it is wrong to suggest that I have given less priority to Madhes,” Mahat argued. During the discussion, Mahat was also accused of adopting the neo-liberal economic policy to appease the big industries and the western powers. But the finance minister refuted such claims. “This is the age of pragmatism and middle way. So following some specific models of economic development is simply out of question,” Mahat said, insisting that he has treated both big and small investors on par.
Published: 17-07-2014 08:34