Published On: Thu, Jul 21st, 2016

Controversial Rs 40k crore state budget passed in absence of opposition in Uttarakhand

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The Uttarakhand assembly on Thursday tabled the Rs 40,000-crore appropriation bill or the state budget in the House on the first day of the assembly session. It was passed in the absence of opposition BJP members in the post-lunch afternoon session.

The controversial bill which Speaker Govind Singh Kunjwal had claimed was passed with a voice-vote on March 18, was retabled to meet what CM Harish Rawat termed was “an urgent requirement of state-related financial expenditures including salaries and other expenses.”

Placing the appropriation bill on the floor of the house, parliamentary affairs Minister Indira Hridayesh said the bill will allocate funds for different state departments including cooperatives, rural development, irrigation and floods, energy, public works department, industries and others in order to “give impetus to growth, development and new avenues of income generation.”

Soon after the bill was passed, chief minister Harish Rawat expressed his happiness saying that “a big burden had been lifted off my shoulders.” “I was extremely worried over the way the appropriation bill had been hanging fire and no decision was taken on it. Now that the bill has been passed by the House, I am a much relieved man.” He also expressed his thanks to the central government “for extending their cooperation in re-drafting the bill before it was sent to the governor for his approval.” “I would like to thank Union finance minister Arun Jaitley and governor K K Paul for their cooperation,” Rawat said.

The other nine bills which were placed on the floor of the House on Thursday, are expected to be passed on Friday.

These include the Himalayan Garhwal University bill 2016. The bill aims to establish the first of its kind university to conduct research on glaciers and ecological conditions in the Garhwal Himalayas. The other bill on the anvil is the Benami transactions(Prevention) bill-2017 which is proposed to put an end to the illegal land transactions, which are becoming rampant in the state. A bill relating to regularization of the slum areas located mostly in low-lying areas is also expected to resettle thousands of people living in these places.

Meanwhile, a state cabinet meeting chaired by CM Rawat soon after the assembly session also decided to approve the proposal to provide self-employment opportunities to unemployed youth in the state by allocating a start-up fund of Rs 10 crore for the objective. The cabinet also took four other decisions including one relating to regularizing and improvement of slum areas by earmarking a corpus fund of Rs 400 for the purpose.

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