Punjab Budget: Bizmen happy, farmers fume

Punjab Budget: Bizmen happy, farmers fume

Dr. Tarwinder Singh Chahal

Tribune News Service

Amritsar, February 28

The Rs 1.54 lakh crore Budget presented by Finance Minister Manpreet Singh Badal in Vidhan Sabha on Friday evinced a mixed response from the common people.

Pyare Lal Seth

While the Punjab Pradesh Beopar Mandal (PPBM) appreciated the Budget for its significant allotment to the sagging Punjab industry in comparison to previous Budgets, the farming community seemed unhappy with it. They said the government failed to make any significant announcement for border-area farmers, who are deprived of basic amenities.

Terming the Budget pro-industry, Pyara Lal Seth, the president of the PPBM, said: “The proposed industrial parks in Mattewal, Bathinda and Rajpura on the Amritsar-Kolkatta Industrial Corridor would help generate employment. The government also announced a pharmaceutical park at Wazirabad in Fatehgarh Sahib and upgrading of all industrial focal points. Power subsidy of Rs 2,267 crore was also a welcome move.” he added.

Gunbir Singh

Gunbir Singh, a former member of the Confederation of Indian Industry, said Punjab was under a debt trap of Rs 2 lakh crore. With no solution in sight, the falling national GDP and an impending Coronavirus-led global slowdown, the Budget is a brave effort at making ends meet with dignity, he added.

Tarwinder Singh Chahal, the Director of the Institute of Development and Planning, said the Budget was a good news for farmers as it reduced the market fee from four per cent to one per cent, besides allocating Rs 520 crore for landless farmers and Rs 2,000 crore for credit financing and for establishing a cattle feed plant at Kapurthala. It has also taken care of environment by earmarking Rs 2,510 crore for supplying canal water for irrigation and proposing a scheme, “Save Water Earn Money”, which is aimed at rationalising the use of tube wells. Plans to bring about diversification in agriculture by giving a boost to maize cultivation are welcome. But there was no plan regarding investing in agro food industry which is necessary to promote agricultural diversification. Allocation of Rs 650 crore for cleaning of Buddha Nullah in Ludhiana was an awaited move, he said.

Jagdish Thakur

Rattan Singh Randhawa, a leader of the Jamhoori Kisan Sabha, said though the Finance Minister claimed to have given the maximum share to the agriculture sector, farmers in the border belt are unhappy. “Such allocations were promised in the past too, but the ground reality was different. There is a lack of basic infrastructure in the rural belt of border areas,” he said.

Saanjha Mulazim Manch state convener Jagdish Thakur, who is also the general secretary of the Punjab State Ministerial Services Association, said though the announcement regarding six per cent DA arrears was welcome, the government should pay all arrears pending for the past few years. He said the Sixth Pay Commission should take into account the pay scales revised in 2011 and make recommendations accordingly.

Amritsar Vikas Manch, an NGO, expressed its satisfaction over allocation for the Patti-Makhu rail link. “This will promote the tourism of the holy city as the distance between Amritsar and Mumbai will be reduced by upto upto 240km and the journey time will come down by five to six hours.

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