LAHORE - After seeing less weightage being given to their suggestions and advices in the fiscal layout, Members Punjab Assembly from both sides of the political divide averred that the pre and post-budget general discussions were useless, and such sessions should not be held in future. During general discussion on the Supplementary Budget 2008-09 here on Saturday at the Punjab Assembly, a large majority of the Treasury members spelled out elaborated speeches felicitating, appreciating and lauding Chief Minister and Finance Minister for presenting a tax-free and pro-poor budget. They repeated each other by using flowery language and flattering adjectives for their leaders. The rhetoric can be concluded as, The steps taken by the government will yield positive results, bring prosperity, eliminate poverty and provide jobs to the people of the province. However, quite a few made it certain that they should call a spade a spade, and launched bitter diatribe against the government for not considering members suggestions, and preparing a budget, which to them, is the brainchild of bureaucracy. Saeed Akbar Niwani was the first to take the government to task by averring that two days were given for reading a big bundle of budget books, which was impossibility. Secondly, no body has considered our suggestions, which is evident from the concluding budget speech of the Finance Minister, which he delivered after four-day long discussion. If this situation is to continue, then I ask all the MPAs not to involve themselves in such an activity. Moreover, if our recommendations are not to be actualised, then there is no use of holding such general discussions. What is the use of wasting public money and time? he questioned, while giving yet another suggestion that a 25-member house-committee should be constituted to properly note down the proposals given by the members. Workshops and other training courses should be initiated for the MPAs so that they can discuss budget documents and present their proposals more effectively, he added further. In continuation of this matter, PPPs Iftikhar Babar Khaitran, while endorsing Niwanis views, said MPAs suggestions must be given proper attention for properly incorporating these in the budget. Besides this, he urged the government to take effective measures for stopping erosion alongside the River Indus near Layyah district. Neither the media nor any one else is paying heed to the grievances of these poor farmers, whose entire lands, houses and other belongings are submerged into the river due to erosion, he added, while demanding of the government to ensure provision of compensation, alternate residences and other facilities do these growers. In response to Iftikhar Khaitrans demand, Finance Minister Tanvir Ashraf Kaira said the government was putting in place an effective mechanism to properly incorporate the suggestions of the MPAs, while preparing the budget to make it more accurate and result-oriented. All the standing committees are being made more effective to accommodate MPAs recommendations through their respective departments, he added. Treasury members Mian Rafique Ahmed suggested that assemblies should also be involved in the policy-making, its implementation, monitoring and take action against the erring departments. While, Maj. (R) Abdur Rehman Rana said that standing committees should review the budget spending in their respective department quarterly. PPPs Sajida Mir said the government should allocate more funds for the empowerment and welfare of the women folk. Oppositions Dr Samia Amjad, while 'saluting Shahbaz Sharif for the Food Stamp Scheme, but doubted whether transparency was being maintained. She also questioned about the fate of the unutilised money by the departments. She criticised the allocation of huge amount for the discretionary fund of Chief Minister in the Supplementary budget. She also demanded increase in the Punjab Assembly security guards salary equivalent to the Punjab police. Oppositions Amna Ulfat suggested that Union Councils Nazims and concerned SHO and police knew very well about every resident of their respective area, so they must be given responsibilities of maintaining complete data of the locals and their tenants, which would help tackling the terrorism. Treasury member Ch Abdul Waheed called for enhancing the Green Tractor Scheme and greater focus on agriculture sector especially on availability of agri medicines, fertilizers and irrigation water. Opposition MPA Khadija Umar observed that the present government was raising hollow slogans about adopting simplicity and austerity and ending VIP culture, citing that Chief Ministers Secretariat had spent Rs 270 million more than its allocated budget, which was 120 million. The government should not hoodwink the people through false promises, she maintained. PML-Qs Ayesha Javed opined that an under-19 team had prepared the budget, while only lip services was being paid for betterment of the province. Over 20 members from Treasury and Opposition benches took part in the discussion. In his concluding speech on the supplementary budget, Tanvir Ashraf Kaira said the volume of the supplementary budget 2008-09 increased due to enhanced expenditures on social sectors, which ensure masses welfare. He assured the House that the government was also taking effective measures for reducing the supplementary grants by ensuring proper estimates in the annual budget. The government has spent Rs 115 billion on purchase of wheat, which has gain immense importance in the prevailing situation, besides establishing Punjab Education Endowment Fund with Rs2 billion to provide up to the mark educational opportunities to the poor but intelligent students. Secondly, the government also provided Rs 2 billion each for power generator and free medicines to all patients in hospitals, he added. Kaira said an additional grant of Rs 2 billion was spent on the Sasti Roti Scheme, while giving Rs 1 billion more for Green Tractor Scheme, as the Chief Minister had doubled the subsidy on each tractor from Rs 100,000. The government consumed Rs 7 billion under Pensions head, while this grant will be included in the next annual budgets, as we have assessed the estimates for Pensions, which will help curtail the supplementary budgets. Secondly, the government is putting huge emphasis on the performance of police to improve law and order. We are also focusing on police training to improve their behaviour with the general public, he maintained. After this, the Speaker Rana Muhammad Iqbal Khan adjourned the session for June 29 (Monday) 3pm.