Cong poll freebies to cost Rs10,000 cr a year : The Tribune India

Cong poll freebies to cost Rs10,000 cr a year

CHANDIGARH: At a time when the state is already reeling under a debt of Rs1.38 lakh crore, the Punjab Congress, in its manifesto released today, offered freebies that would cost the state exchequer an estimated Rs10,000 crore per annum.

Cong poll freebies to cost Rs10,000 cr a year

Punjab Congress leader Manpreet Badal (L) and party’s Mohali candidate Balbir Singh Sidhu release the manifesto in Chandigarh on Monday. Tribune Photo: Manoj Mahajan

Sarbjit Dhaliwal & Rajmeet Singh

Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, January 9

At a time when the state is already reeling under a debt of Rs1.38 lakh crore, the Punjab Congress, in its manifesto released today, offered freebies that would cost the state exchequer an estimated Rs10,000 crore per annum.

Manpreet Badal, one of the key architects of the manifesto, claims they have plans to part finance the expenditure on the freebies in such a manner that it will not put pressure on the existing resources.

“Instead of burdening the existing resources, as is being done by the governments in the past, the required funds will be generated by strictly checking pilferage of revenue by various mafias operating in the state and cutting wasteful expenditure by closing irrelevant board and corporations and non-statutory commissions,” he claims.

He says his vision for Punjab has become a reality with the Congress agreeing to incorporate 11 dream agendas in the manifesto of his erstwhile PPP.

He also says if the Congress came to power, it will enact “The Conflict of Interest Act” which will unseat a minister or an MLA if he uses his official position to protect and promote his business at any level.

“We will be perhaps the first party in the country to propose such a law,” he says, adding that several other countries have such a legal provision.

“Politicians with interests in liquor, transport and real estate have been holding important positions in the government, taking decisions on matters directly related to their businesses. There are numerous instances of politicians appointing their relatives on important political postings. Such practices have to stop.”

Rival parties give thumbs down

There is no reason to believe anything written in the Congress manifesto because the party has never implemented any of its earlier manifestos. —Sukhbir Singh Badal, Deputy CM

The Congress is trying to build castles in the air. It makes tall promises, but forgets them when the elections are over. Our govt is already running scores of schemes. —Vijay Sampla, state BJP Chief

It’s nothing but a bundle of lies. It seems that most of the points have been taken from the four manifestos already released by the Aam Aadmi Party. —Kanwar Sandhu, Chief, AAP Manifesto panel

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