Chandigarh, March 10
Opposition parties in Punjab on Friday slammed the AAP government’s budget for 2023-24, saying it has shattered the common man’s hopes, and alleged that the government will soon drive the state deep into debt.
Leader of Opposition Partap Singh Bajwa, a senior Congress leader, said “if this government lasts for five years, they will leave state under Rs 5 lakh debt.” Tabling the budget in the state assembly, Finance Minister Harpal Singh Cheema projected the effective outstanding debt to be Rs 3.27 lakh crore by end of next fiscal.
Bajwa said “before polls the AAP had promised Rs 1,000 per month to every woman in shape of social security, but not a word has been said about it in the budget.” “It is a totally pedestrian budget, it shattered common people’s hopes, who had voted AAP to power,” he said.
Bajwa said that the “non-seriousness” of the AAP leaders about the budget was exposed “when out of 92 of their MLAs, only 48 MLAs were present in House. Only half of their Ministers were present. Chief Minister also spent less time in the House during his Finance Minister’s speech.” Calling the budget disappointing for various sections, Punjab BJP chief Ashwani Sharma said that AAP has run away from its promises.
BJP national general secretary Tarun Chugh said the Punjab budget offered no hope for resurgence of economy “and it sounds like a fairy tale.” “At a time when Punjab has been reeling under acute financial stress, the budget gives no promise of the revival of state economy,” Chugh said in a statement.
Punjab Congress president Amarinder Singh Raja Warring said the budget has “proved to be the harsh reality check for the government” and called it “an admission of failures and frustrations of the AAP government.” Taking a dig at AAP leaders’ pre-poll promise of generating Rs 20,000 crore from sand mining, Warring said the budgetary figures showed that the state earned just Rs 153 crores from sand mining last year.
He also pointed out that the Budget 2022-23 promised to establish 16 new medical colleges over a period of five years, but it has allocated funds for only two new medical colleges this year.
Shiromani Akali Dal President Sukhbir Singh Badal alleged that the Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) government had played another fraud with Punjabis “by fudging figures to paint a rosy picture in budget 2023-24 but was actually leading Punjab to financial ruin by increasing debt and performing poorly on all parameters.” In a statement, Badal rubbished claims of increase in revenue, saying “figures have been conveniently fudged to hide the truth from Punjabis.” “The State debt had increased by Rs 42,181 crore to touch Rs 3.47 lakh crore. Outstanding debt to GSDP ratio of 46.81 per cent also suggested that the State was hurtling towards financial bankruptcy,” Badal alleged.
He also claimed AAP has also gone back on all promises made to the people.
This was the second budget to be presented by the AAP government but yet no allocation was made to provide Rs 1,000 per month to all women in the State, he added.
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