Punjab Budget: Retirement age cut to 58; 6 pc of DA arrears in a week; no new taxes

Industrial parks to be set up at Mattewara, Bathinda, Rajpura; no CLU to be charged for 2 years

Ruchika M Khanna
Tribune News Service
Chandigarh, February 28

Finance minister Manpreet Singh Badal presented a budget of Rs 1.54 lakh crore in the Punjab Assembly on Friday. This is the fourth budget presented by him for the Capt Amarinder Singh-led government. No new taxes were introduced in the budget.  

Also read: Punjab Budget: Free education for all till Class 12

Budget Highlights

  • Three industrial parks to be set up at Mattewara, Bathinda and Rajpura
  • Power subsidy of Rs 8,275 cr to farmers
  • ‘Paani bachao paisa kamao’ scheme to be extended
  • Agriculture sector allotted Rs 12,526 cr, Education sector Rs 13,092 cr.
  • Expenditure on salaries, pensions increased by Rs 4,000 cr
  • School education in govt schools free for all students till class 12. 
  • Ludhiana, Amritsar get Rs 104 cr and Rs 76 cr under smart city project
  • 5,000 EWS houses to be built for urban poor

Key announcements: 

  • Freedom fighters to get one 'out of turn' tubewell connection; three per cent reservation in house allotment; they are not to pay any toll tax on state highways.
  • Rs 650 crore for rejuvenation of Buddha nallah; Rs 60 crore for rejuvenation of chotti and badi nadi in Patiala
  • 5,000 EWS houses to be built for urban poor
  • Rs 1,705 crore for providing subsidised power to SCs, BPL and freedom fighters
  • Rs 100 crore for Border Area Development and Kandi Area Development programme
  • Grant-in-aid to universities increased by 6 per cent.
  • A law college to be set up at Patti and an open university in Patiala
  • 19 new ITIs to be established at a cost of Rs 75 crore; Rs 41 crore allocated for government polytechnics at 5 places.
  • Rs 15 crore allotted for ICUs in all district hospitals.
  • Ludhiana and Amritsar get Rs 104 crore and Rs 76 crore under smart city project
  • 4,150 additional classrooms to be constructed at a cost of Rs 100 crore.
  • Rs 75 crore allotted for repair or unsafe school buildings

Also read: Punjab Budget: Rs 2,000 cr crop loan waiver, power subsidy of Rs 8,275 cr for farmers 

  • 259 government senior secondary smart schools to get 10 KW solar plants.
  • Rs 100 crore allotted for digital education in government school classrooms
  • Education in government schools would be free of cost up to class 12. Earlier, education up till class 8 was free and only girls students had free access to education till class 12. Now all children to get free education.
  • Rs 25 crore allotted for starting the celebration for the 400th birth anniversary of Guru Teg Bahadur.
  • 54-km road from Anandpur Sahib to Banga to be built and named after Guru Teg Bahadur
  • Funding of social security scheme increased from Rs 2,165 crore to Rs 2,388 crore.
  • Old age homes to be set up in each district of Punjab
  • Three industrial parks —over 1,000-acre each—to be set up at Mattewara (Ludhiana), Bathinda and Rajpura (on Amritsar - Kolkata industrial corridor). One more park for pharma companies at Wazirabad in Fatehgarh Sahib.
  • Rs 131 crore for upgradation of all industrial focal points
  • Rs 2,267 crore for providing power subsidy to industry
  • Rs 100 crore for rolling out the smart phones for youth scheme
  • Rs 324 crore for employment generation.
  • Rs 148 crore for skill development
  • New cattle feed plant at Kapurthala to be commissioned
  • Rs 25 crore allocated for strengthening of cattle pound infrastructure to solve the problem of stray cattle menace
  • Rs 100 crore for rolling out the smart phones for youth scheme
  • Rs 2,000 crore allocated for crop loan waiver, including Rs 520 crore for farm labourers.
  • veterinary college and regional research centre to be set up at Sappanwali in Fazilka.
  • Rs 20 crore for crop residue management allocated, to give subsidy to farmers who do not burn stubble.  
  • Rs 200 crore allocated for agriculture diversification. Government to promote Maize; sugar mills at Gurdaspur and Batala to be upgraded. Rs 100 crore allocated for providing support to sugarcane farmers.
  • New horticulture estates to be set up at Amritsar, Pathankot, Kotkapura and Patiala.
  • Centre of excellence of floriculture to be setup in Doraha.
  • Power subsidy of Rs 8,275 crore to farmers in 2020-21.
  • Two new agriculture colleges at Gurdaspur and Balachaur to be set up
  • ‘Paani bachao paisa kamao’ scheme to be extended for giving direct benefit transfer of electricity to agriculture sector. Scheme to be extended to cover 244 feeders.
  • Rural development gets Rs 3,830 crore and urban development gets Rs 5,026 crore.
  • FM says that 16 state government departments have prepared a 4-year strategic action plan and release of funds to these departments will be based on this.
  • The FM said the budget focuses on Agriculture and Education, which have received the maximum allocations.
  • The allocation for the Agriculture sector is Rs 12,526 crore, and for the Education sector is 13,092 crore.
  • Rs 4,675 crore allocation for the health sector
  • Punjab’s Gross State Domestic Product (GSDP) would increase from Rs 5.74 lakh crore to Rs 6.44 lakh crore in 2020-21.
  • Punjab’s revenue receipts have increased by 18.96 percent from 2019-2020 to 2020-21.
  • Punjab has given Rs 10,530 crore as debt servicing till March this year, against the legacy food credit account of Rs 31,000 crore.
  • FM says GSDP ratio reduced from what was inherited from the previous government (42.75 per cent) to 39.83 per cent. He says this will be further reduced to 38.53 percent by March 2021.
  • Government has been able to save Rs 49 crore in three years. 
  • Badal said that there was a funding gap of over Rs 10,000 crore in the budget in 2017. The funding gap in 2019 was 2,323 crore. He said that the gap has been reduced to zero this year. This has been possible after the year 2006.
  • FM says that the state has been in primary surplus this year.
  • Expenditure on salaries and pensions increased by Rs 4,000 crore. This is mainly to account for releasing the pending arrears of DA and for the new pay scales to be announced.

  • 6 per cent of DA arrears will be released within next week.
    The pay commission report will be implemented and has been accounted for in the budget.
  • Revenue receipts for 2020-21 will be Rs 95,716 crore, up from Rs 73,975 crore in 2019-2020.
  • No CLU to be charged from investors for the next two years.
  • A Rural Development fund fee and market committee fee ( currently a total of four per cent) to be reduced to just one per cent.
  • Farm labourers will get Rs 520 crore for debt relief in 2020-21.
  • Punjab’s debt is expected to go up to a whopping Rs 2.48 lakh crore by March 2021.
  • FM announced that the retirement age of employees will once again be reduced to 58, withdrawing the practice of giving extension in service. He says this will enable the government to recruit youth. 

Just as the announcement for the Budget proposals were to begin in the Punjab Assembly, Parliamentary Affairs Minister Brahm Mohindra moved a resolution saying that SAD MLAs indulged in a breach of privileges, by preventing Manpreet Badal from coming to the Assembly. 

Speaker Rana K P Singh said that this was violative of the privilege granted to members. He ordered that the matter be referred to the special privileges committee of the House. 

Earlier, the Punjab Assembly was adjourned for 20 minutes after Finance Minister Manpreet Badal, who was slated to present the budget at 11 am, failed to arrive in the assembly following a protest outside his house by SAD MLAs.

Badal arrived in the Assembly minutes after the adjournment.

Mohindra informed the Assembly that SAD MLAs were staging a dharna outside Badal’s houase and sought a privilege motion against the MLAs.

Mohindra said the entry to Badal’s house had been blocked and the situation had turned “ugly” as even the Chandigarh police could not manage to evict the protesting MLAs.

Earlier AAP MLAs staged a dharna outside the Punjab assembly.

AAP MLAs staged a dharna outside the Punjab assembly.

They alleged that the Congress and the SAD had colluded in cases related to illegal sand mining and faulty power purchase agreements with private thermal plants.

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