KATHMANDU, May 31: The commitments of Prime Minister K P Oli and the joint manifesto of the erstwhile CPN-UML and Maoist Center are missing in the new fiscal year budget unveiled by the government on Tuesday.
Organizing a press meet on Wednesday, Nepali Congress spokesman Biswaprakash Sharma said that the prime minister’s public commitments made in the past including those concerning waterways and increment in the allowance for the elderly are missing in the budget.
“The joint manifesto of the left parties during the polls was promising and it influenced the voters. But the policy and programs announced in the budget deviate from the manifesto and this has completely tarnished the budget,” said Sharma.
Stating that the budget doesn’t live up to the tall promises of the campaign trail, the NC has termed it as standing on the crossroads of confusion and uncertainty.
“Our party has concluded that the budget lacks will, vision and the programs and financing that would reflect the government’s comfortable political situation in the aftermath of the new constitution and the three tiers of elections,” said the NC spokesman.
Opposition claims budget increases foreign dependency
Condemns budget for not making 65-year-olds eligible for elderly allowance
The parliamentary party meeting of the NC has concluded that the budget risks landing the country in a debt trap, adding as it does to the debt burden and increasing foreign dependency for resources.
“Every Nepali citizen already has a foreign debt burden of Rs 28,000 and this will now increase by about Rs 14,665 ,” said NC Chief Whip Balkrishna Khand after the meeting. “The budget risks landing the country in a debt trap.”
Irked by the government decision not to incorporate in the budget the NC-led previous government’s decision to reduce the eligibility age for the elderly allowance to 65 from 70, the opposition party said this has drawn the NC’s serious attention.
The NC has also condemned the budget for not including the erstwhile government decision to provide Rs 5,000 monthly as livelihood allowance for kidney and cancer patients and those paralyzed by spinal injury.
The opposition party said the budget has contradicted the finance minister’s accusation in his white paper that the erstwhile government had left the state coffers empty. Khand said that Finance Minister Khatiwada has announced financing for some of his programs from the reserve funds, whose existence contradict his previous accusations.
Duly acknowledging the plan to create half a million jobs, the NC has however, criticized the budget for not encouraging the private sector in job creation. Similarly, while hailing the target of doubling agricultural production, the opposition party has flayed the budget for not focusing on completing the national-pride irrigation projects.
The NC has also pointed out a lack of seriousness in the budget about concluding the ongoing projects, stating that less than quarter of the budget has been allocated for development expenditure. “We will voice these issues in parliament during the budget discussions and will urge the government to make necessary corrections,” said NC Chief Whip Khand.