Navjot Singh Sidhu questions economic viability of election sops

Says Rs100 cable charges not practical | Slams Kejri for Rs1K dole to women

Tribune News Service

Amritsar, November 24

A day after the conclusion of a two-day tour of AAP supremo Arvind Kejriwal to the poll-bound state, Punjab Congress chief Navjot Singh questioned the economic viability of freebies being promised by political parties ahead of the Assembly election.

He did not even spare his party’s government, as he said the announcement made by Chief Minister Charanjit Singh Channi to cap cable TV charges at Rs 100 per month was not practically possible as TRAI had fixed the rate at Rs 130. However, he hastily added that Channi’s performance was better than former CM Capt Amarinder Singh.

“In 2017, I introduced in the Cabinet the Punjab Entertainments Taxes Bill to end the monopoly of the cable mafia and to provide cheaper cable connections to people,” he said. The PCC chief said his Punjab model was “policy based” and aimed at providing relief from monopolies. “Sops will empty the state exchequer and kill livelihoods,” he said.

PCC chief Navjot Singh Sidhu in Amritsar on Wednesday. Vishal Kumar

Addressing mediapersons after the inauguration of developmental projects in his Assembly constituency here on Wednesday, Sidhu also hit out at AAP leader Arvind Kejriwal over the announcement of providing Rs 1,000 per woman. He said, “A simple calculation will expose whether it is practical or not. For instance, providing 26 lakh jobs will mean an expenditure of Rs 93,000 crore, giving Rs 1,000 per woman will cost Rs 12,000 crore and two-kilowatt free power supply will cost Rs 3,600 crore. When taken together, all these freebies will cost Rs 1.10 lakh crore. The total budget of Punjab stands at Rs 72,000 crore. From where will Kejriwal bring the rest of the money?”

He said there was a big difference between Delhi and Punjab. Delhi is a self-sufficient state whereas Punjab is under debt of Rs 7 lakh crore.

Freebies will empty coffers

My Punjab model is ‘policy based’ and aims at providing relief from monopolies. Sops will empty the state coffers and kill livelihoods. Navjot Singh Sidhu, PCC chief

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