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Misuse of resources for freebies by states spreading like ‘cancer’, must be stopped: SJM

Swadeshi Jagran Manch (SJM) has said the misuse of resources by states to dole out freebies such as free electricity is like a “cancer” in the economy and should be put an end to. SJM co-convener Ashwani Mahajan said state governments should follow the Centre in adopting fiscal prudence.

In an interview to PTI after the interim Budget for 2024-25, he said, “States were given more resources for development, but they chose to misuse these resources for freebies. This is very unfortunate. This is a kind of contagious disease, which is now causing a kind of cancer to the economy of the country.” He said the misuse of resources meant for development is hampering growth and it is “very unfortunate” that states are becoming “too undisciplined” as far as expenditure is concerned.

Mahajan said this is leading to a rise in overall debt on the government, both the Centre and states, and is bringing the ratings by international rating agencies down.

“This is also making it difficult for our economy to attract investment at a lower rate of interest,” he noted. He said if the country is made to borrow at a higher rate of interest, it cannot develop. “Therefore, a full stop has to be made on the undisciplined expenditure by the state governments,” the leader of the SJM said.

“And, for that the judiciary will have to play its role and the next Finance Commission should also be given the responsibility to do so,” he said.

On the interim Budget presented on Thursday, Mahajan said, “I appreciate that the government and the finance minister have shown the path to state governments.” He said this budget has given a way forward and the rooftop solar panel scheme is one such initiative which will provide free power but will also create infrastructure.

“If you look at this budget from the point of view of growth, reduction in poverty, and welfare, this government has done very well.” He said the general wellbeing of people is improving through various schemes on housing, cooking gas and potable drinking water.

“The government is working transparently and that’s what differentiates this government from the previous ones,” Mahajan said.

On the opposition’s charge that the government has not been able to tackle the problem of unemployment, he wondered how come there is this problem if private sector investment, FDI, and infrastructure are growing. “I expect the government to do something about good and real-time data collection on unemployment. We need to find the right people for the right jobs. I think the unemployment problem is not of this government, it has been there from the very beginning,” he said. 


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