Increasing the Local Area Development (LAD) fund made available to Rajasthan legislators from Rs 2.5 crore to Rs 5 crore annually will cost the exchequer Rs 1,000 crore. Chief Minister Ashok Gehlot on Thursday announced raising the LAD fund for MLAs and it was greeted with cheers by both the ruling and the Opposition members.
But this would mean that the state exchequer will have to spend Rs 1,000 crore annually from Rs 450 crore. With greater fund allocation, the LAD fund for MLAs will be equivalent to the allocation made for members of parliament.
What is surprising is that the state government had suspended these LAD funds when the COVID-19 crisis was at its peak. But the chief minister who was giving his reply on the Finance and Appropriation Bill got up from his seat and made this announcement. The announcement made the members happy and it was greeted with the thumping of desk.
Rajasthan facing resource crunch
Revenue minister Harish Choudhry wanted to raise his objections to this announcement, but the Speaker did not allow him to speak. Former Speaker Kailash Meghwal, however, said that this announcement of raising the LAD fund was not appropriate as the state was facing a resource crunch.
The issue of increasing the LAD fund was first raised in 2019 by the Congress legislators and former Speaker Deependra Singh Shekhawat took up the issue and stressed that the fund allocation of Rs 2.50 crore was inadequate and should be doubled. This issue was pending since 2019.
Gehlot govt misleading people
During the debate on the Finance and Appropriation Bill, former Speaker and BJP MLA, Kailash Meghwal, had said that the Gehlot government was misleading the people by calling the budget a “tax-free budget”.
He said the tax-free budget would hamper development and the people should have the habit of paying taxes. He said revenue generated in the form of taxes on citizens is spent on them only. He demanded levying taxes for development.
Chief Minister Ashok Gehlot announced that registration for the universal health scheme would begin from April 1 and this scheme would be known as the Chiranjeevi Scheme. Any person can avail of the benefit of the Rs 5 lakh cashless health insurance scheme by paying the fifty per cent insurance premium which will be Rs 850.
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