Patting his back, FM says economic revival in sight

Patting his back, FM says economic revival in sight

Manpreet Singh Badal

Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, March 3

After years of lagging behind on economic indicators, Punjab is finally on a par with Haryana. It has taken a lot of hard work, out-of-the-box thinking and never say die spirit of a Punjabi to bring the state’s economy back on the track.

This was stated by Finance Minister Manpreet Singh Badal, as part of his concluding remarks on the discussion on the Budget. “Our expenditure is almost Rs10,000 crore less than Haryana, while receipts are almost on a par. Even the revenue deficit is half of what Haryana’s deficit will be,” he told the House, saying that first three Budgets he presented were all about stabilising the state’s economy, which had been derailed by the previous Akali- BJP government.

He claimed that Punjab was behind the national average in terms of GSDP growth by 0.3 per cent, but now it was far ahead.

“Punjab’s contribution to the Central taxes is 2.87 per cent. But we get just 1.78 per cent back. This is almost 1 per cent less than our contribution, or Rs10,000 crore less. Moreover, after GST regime came in place, 24 per cent of Punjab’s taxes were subsumed. Though we are getting a compensation for first five years, Punjab has been structurally damaged. Even the legacy food credit bill of Rs31,000 crore that the previous government became a signatory, without a thought for the state’s future, too hit us hard,” he said.

He said that inspite of this, he had ensured that the state increased its share in Budget outlays for education and agriculture and for the underprivileged sections, while bringing down the committed expenditure on salaries, pensions and interest payments.

Speaker bats for his segment

In a rare instance, Speaker Rana KP Singh was seen making a case for more grants for his constituency (Anandpur Sahib) before the Finance Minister.

As the latter announced a grant of Rs20 crore for Anadpur Sahib Development Authority, the Speaker said the government should increase the allocation so that a ring road could be constructed, especially as the 400th year birth anniversary of Guru Teg Bahadur was round the corner. Manpreet said only the CM was authorised to do so.

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