M A I N   N E W S

Resource Mobilisation Report
Delay stalling budget-making, says Manpreet
Jangveer Singh
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, January 12
Populist politics has stalled the budget-making process in Punjab with Finance Minister Manpreet Singh Badal today saying there was a question mark on the revenue deficit as well as resources at the state’s command with the two-member resource mobilisation committee of Deputy CM Sukhbir Singh Badal and Local Bodies Minister Manoranjan Kalia taking an inordinately long time to finalise their report.

The two-member committee was formed to suggest ways and means to raise resources as well as address the issue of subsidies, particularly the agricultural subsidy. The committee, formed on September 20 last, is yet to submit its report even as the government has decided to subsidise the recent power hike and incurred a further cost of Rs 540 crore on itself.

Manpreet Badal, while talking to TNS, said the report was overdue by three months and every day lost was a loss for the state. Expressing ignorance as to when the report would be released, he said ,“They have not involved me nor have I given any recommendation to the committee”.

Manpreet Badal said the budget-making process was being affected as he could not brief the Planning Commission unless he himself knew about the likely deficit or about resources that could still be used to cover the revenue gap. “My briefing the Planning Commission without these facts will lack credibility”, he added. The budget exercise starts in December and Finance Department officials are scheduled to meet the Planning Commission on February 19.

The Finance Minister is apparently not only unhappy over the delay on the part of the two-member committee but also the entire issue of populist politics. “The two-member committee could have been formed three years back”, he said adding “the results would have come by now”. He went on to say that the SAD-BJP government had committed a huge political miscalculation by not reviewing its policy on subsidies.



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