The Tamil National Alliance (TNA) criticised the Government’s budget for 2017, saying it proposed a “grossly inadequate” allocation for development of the North and East and reconciliation work and neglected spending for priority sectors such as education.
Though Mr. R. Sampanthan welcomed the budget proposals, other members of the party said that they were “deeply disappointed and regretting” that this year budget too have ignored the war-affected people in the north and the east.
M. A. Sumanthiran told Parliament that the Government had allocated insufficient funds for the North and East in its second annual budget plan.
MP pointed out that while the budget proposals indicate an allocation of Rs. 180 million for “reconciliation work,” they do not outline for what purposes the monies are allocated. The TNA MP said he had met Finance Minister Ravi Karunanayake ahead of the budget presentation, with a detailed proposal for the North and East, with regard to Agriculture, Fisheries and animal husbandry.
“Those three together are the main livelihoods of our people. People have to get back on their feet. I am deeply saddened that those proposals have not been considered,” he further added.
Infrastructure alone will not rebuild the lives of people, and noted that the previous Government had come in for criticism for its predominant focus on infrastructure while neglecting other aspects of uplifting the war ravaged regions.
TNA’s Wanni district MP, Shanthi Sriskantharajah said that it “is deeply regrettable that the 2017 Budget does not have any special proposals for the rehabilitation or creating employment opportunities for the war-affected people in the North”. “There is no proposal to reconstruct and restart the industrial factories that faced closure due to war in the north.