AAP government presents 1st budget in Punjab; no new tax, free electricity from July 1 : The Tribune India

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AAP government presents 1st budget in Punjab; no new tax, free electricity from July 1

The Budget remains silent on giving Rs 1,000 to each woman in the state


Chandigarh, June 27

Presenting the AAP government's first budget, Punjab Finance Minister Harpal Singh Cheema on Monday announced providing 300 units of free electricity to households from July 1, setting up of 117 Mohalla Clinics and upgrading 100 schools as 'schools of eminence' in the state among other proposals.

The Bhagwant Mann-led government also announced setting up cyber-crime control units in all districts of the state while keeping its focus on health, education, agriculture and police modernisation.

Cheema did not announce any new tax in the budget for 2022-23 and chose to rely on an expected jump in revenue receipts and buoyancy in GST collections by plugging loopholes for funding the proposed expenditure in the budget.

The budget of the government led by AAP, which came to power while making poll promises in the form of "guarantees", remained silent on giving Rs 1,000 to each woman in the state. However, Cheema said the state government will soon fulfil this "guarantee".

The finance minister stressed that the government will fulfil its promise of giving 300 units of free electricity per month to each household from July 1, saying it has already planned to finance this scheme by cutting wasteful expenditure and through enhancement of own tax revenue.

Finance Minister Harpal Cheema presents the budget in the Assembly.

Providing 300 units of free power will put an additional burden of Rs 1,800 crore on the state exchequer, said Cheema. The AAP government had announced giving 300 units of free power to every household from July 1.

Cheema said out of five, four “guarantees”—giving 300 units of free electricity, quality education, improving health infrastructure and raising compensation to families of martyred soldiers—have been fulfilled.

Cheema presented the first paperless budget in the ongoing assembly session and this step is expected to save Rs 21 lakh per annum.

Among new proposals, Cheema announced setting up of modern digital classrooms in 500 government schools to bring quality education in villages, upgrading 100 existing schools as "schools of eminence" and posting estate managers for a cluster of schools for the upkeep of government schools and a comprehensive scheme for installation of roof top solar panel systems in government schools.

Cheema proposed to start a Punjab Young Entrepreneur programme for encouraging class 11 students to propose their business ideas. The state government will provide seed money of Rs 2,000 per student under this start-up programme, the finance minister said.

To augment additional resource generation, Cheema proposed to establish a Tax Intelligence Unit which will equip the finance department to improve tax compliances under GST through taxpayer facilitation and communication.

Cheema also announced that the government will set up 16 new medical colleges over five years, taking the total number of colleges in the state to 25. The government will establish 117 "Mohalla Clinics", for which Rs 77 crore has been earmarked.

The government has taken a breakthrough decision by approving fresh recruitment of 26,454 people and regularisation of 36,000 contractual employees, the minister said.

To strengthen the police force and equip them with latest gadgets, technology and tools to tackle crime, maintain law and order, an allocation of Rs 108 crore is proposed during the FY 2022-23, he said.

Further, cyber-crime control rooms shall be set up in all districts with an outlay of Rs 30 crore, said Cheema. Police have to develop new strategies to deal with crime and criminals. It is important that Punjab police personnel learn about new strategies, said Cheema.

"We accord top priority to the safety and security of our men and women. During our tenure, the entire state would be covered with CCTV network to check the crime and tap criminals," said Cheema.

This announcement comes amid opposition parties' allegations of deteriorating law and order in the state.

On the stubble burning issue, Cheema said various possibilities and solutions will be explored and for this Rs 200 crore has been earmarked in the budget.

Noting that the agriculture sector is at a crossroad, Cheema stressed on increasing farmers' income and promoting crop diversification and earmarked Rs 11,560 crore for the agriculture sector.  Seeking to put all speculations to rest, Cheema said the AAP government pledges to stand by its farmers and shall continue providing free power for the agriculture sector and allocated Rs 6,947 crore for the same.

Stating that his government was sensitive to the cause of poor and downtrodden, the FM said door-to-door delivery of well packaged 'atta' in place of wheat to 1.58 crore beneficiaries under National Food Security Act will be ensured. A bailout package of Rs 350 crore for state-owned Punsup has been proposed.

Cheema also announced 'Farishtey' scheme on the pattern of Delhi whereby the road accident victims will be given free treatment and the helper would be felicitated.

The focus in the first year will be to restore deteriorating fiscal health, deliver on the promises of good governance by ensuring effective use of public funds and concentrate on health and education, the minister said.

"I propose a budget expenditure of Rs 1,55,860 crore for 2022-23, which reflects 14.20 per cent growth as compared to 2021-22," he said.

The finance minister said the government has launched a new project namely  Shaheed-e-Azam Sardar Bhagat Singh Hariawal Lehar, under which 50,000 saplings would be planted in all Vidhan Sabha constituencies on the 115th birth anniversary of martyr Bhagat Singh. For industries, the FM announced setting up of a special commission with only traders and businessmen as its members for collaboration with the government in decision making.

A sum of Rs 100 crore has been allocated for setting up and strengthening focal points to promote industry, he said.

Cheema said the state government will issue this year the Gender Responsive Budgeting Guidelines, setting out the strategy to promote the goal of gender equality and mainstreaming for bringing in social transformation and eliminating inequality.

At the outset of his speech, Cheema said several measures are being undertaken to bring fiscal prudence and efficiency in the management of finances.

He also said that the AAP government will set up a model of good governance.

According to the budget at a glance, the state's effective outstanding debt is expected to be Rs 2,84,870.03 crore by end of current fiscal as against Rs 2,63,265.41 crore (revised estimates) for 2021-22.

To a question on debt, Cheema said the state government borrowed Rs 8,000 crore in the last three months and also said it contributed Rs 1,000 crore in Consolidated Sinking Fund (CSF) of the state within the first two months.

Cheema proposed revenue deficit and fiscal deficit of Rs 12,553 crore and Rs 23,835 crore respectively. The FM proposed revenue receipts of Rs 95,378 crore as against Rs 81,458 crore of 2021-22 (revised estimates).

A total power subsidy bill has been proposed at Rs 15,845 crore as against Rs 13,443 crore in 2021-22.

The GST compensation regime is set to end in June 2022, and based on the trends of previous years, the state government would be staring at a big hole left in its finances to the tune of Rs 14,000-15,000 crore in FY 2022-23, as per the budget document.

Stating that the government has already initiated revenue augmentation measures, the FM proposed an increase of 17.08 per cent in revenue receipts, contributing Rs 95,378 crore to the state exchequer. 

 “Hallmark to this ambitious feat is that this would be done without imposing any New Tax on the people of Punjab,” said Cheema.

He also proposed excise revenue of Rs 9,648 crore and 27 percent jump in GST collections in the current fiscal.

The finance minister said that the Janata budget (people's budget) has been prepared after receiving 20,384 suggestions on the government portal and through e-mails.

The budget also lays provisions for introducing Fiscal Risk Management.

Delhi Deputy Chief Minister Manish Sisodia was among those present in the visitor's gallery of the Punjab Vidhan Sabha.

13:40 27 Jun
4 of the 5 guarantees given by AAP have been fulfilled: FM

Finance Minister Harpal Cheema says that in this budget, four of the five guarantees given by AAP have been fulfilled.

Says the guarantees regarding improving health infrastructure, education infrastructure, 300 units of free power and enhancing compensation given to families of martyred soldiers have been fulfilled.

Says only one guarantee of Rs 1,000 to each woman is yet to be fulfilled. Says it will be done in due course of time.

12:29 27 Jun
Sardar Bhagat Singh Haryali Project announced

Sardar Bhagat Singh Haryali Project announced; 50,000 saplings to be planted in each of the 117 assembly segments.

12:23 27 Jun
100 existing schools to be upgraded as Schools of Eminence

As many as 100 existing schools are proposed to be upgraded as Schools of Eminence. These schools would be composite schools from Pre-Primary to 12th standard and would be equipped with superlative infrastructure like digital classrooms, fully-equipped labs, vocational training facilities and trained faculty.

12:13 27 Jun
No new taxes in Punjab Budget

No new taxes in Punjab Budget, revenue receipts in 2022-23 to increase by 17.08% compared to 2021-22.

25,000 EWS houses to be constructed.

Revenue augmentation will be through excise policy, which will yield the state a revenue increase of 56 per cent. Buoyancy in GST collection to get state an increased revenue of 27 per cent over last year. An increase in non-tax revenue by 11 per cent.

No provision in the budget to meet the promise of Rs 1,000 allowance for each woman over 18.

11:58 27 Jun
The total power subsidy of the state will be Rs 15,845.89 crore

The total power subsidy of the state will be Rs 15,845.89 crore.

Another important feature is the fund allocation of Rs 780 crore for the relining of Rajasthan feeder and Sirhind feeder canal.

11:57 27 Jun
Revenue deficit this year will be a whopping Rs 12553.80 crore

Punjab’s AAP government proposes to earn Rs 95378.28 crore this fiscal.

Since the state proposes to spend Rs 155859.78 crore, the revenue deficit this year will be a whopping Rs 12553.80 crore.

The state government proposes to raise Rs 31804.99 crore as market loans, up from Rs 27362.74 crore raised by the state last year.

Rs 20,122 crore will be spent on payment of interest on states loans. However, the total debt servicing will take Rs 36,068.67 crore of the state’s earnings.

11:55 27 Jun
Rs 450 crore proposed for regularisation of contractual employees

Rs 450 crore proposed for regularisation of contractual employees.

Traders commission to be set up; Fintech city to come up for IT companies in Mohali.

Rs 497 crore for home delivery of atta.

Cyber crime control rooms in all districts; Rs 30 crore reserved for the same.

The budgetary allocation for social security pensions is proposed to be increased from ₹4,071 crore during 2021-22 (BE) with coverage of 28.12 lakh beneficiaries to ₹4,720 crore in FY 2022-23 with a target of covering 31.23 lakh beneficiaries.

Rs 3,003 crore is being proposed in FY 2022-23 for development of rural areas in the state.

11:49 27 Jun
Power subsidy to be Rs 6,947 crore this year.

Power subsidy to be Rs 6,947 crore this year.

Rs 200 crore for checking stubble-burning.

Rs 450 crore as financial assistance to those farmers who go for direct seeding of rice.

A new Quick Freezing Centre is proposed to be established at Verka, Amritsar, for Rs 7 crore in FY 2022-23. Further, an Integrated Hi-tech Vegetable Production-cum-Technology Dissemination Centre at Malsian, Jalandhar, at a cost of Rs 11 crore to start this financial year.

For cooperatives sector, Rs 1,170 crore allocated, which is an increase of 35.67% compared to the last financial year.

11:44 27 Jun
Government proposes Rs 1,033 crore for medical education

New medical college announced.

Government proposes Rs 1,033 crore for medical education which is an increase of 56.6% over FY 2021-22 (RE). The focus would be on up-gradation of existing State Government Medical Colleges and also to increase MBBS seats in these colleges, so that students do not have to go to countries like Ukraine. “I am happy to announce that a new medical college, ie, Sant Baba Attar Singh State Institute of Medical Sciences, Sangrur district, with 100 MBBS seats is being established. An initial allocation of ₹50 crore has been provided in FY 2022-23 for Sant Baba Attar Singh State Institute of Medical Sciences.

117 Mohalla/Pind Clinics to be operationalised this year, to provide “last mile delivery” of health care services to the people of Punjab irrespective of geographies, gender, class, caste, age or religion, for which an initial allocation of Rs 77 crore is being proposed. 75 of these Mohalla Clinics will be operationalized by 15th August, 2022.

11:40 27 Jun
Rs 200 crore allocated for Punjabi University

Rs 200 crore allocated for Punjabi University, Patiala.

Rs 30 crore allocated in FY 2022-23 for providing infrastructure facilities in libraries of government colleges of 9 districts, that is, Tarn Taran, Barnala, Ludhiana, Fazilka, Malerkotla, Moga, Pathankot, Muktsar Sahib and Shaheed Bhagat Singh Nagar.

CM scholarship to general category students for giving concession in University Fee: In order to encourage the students of poor families, especially of general category studying in government colleges, the AAP government has decided to provide scholarship as concession in the fee, based on the marks obtained by the student. I propose an allocation of ₹30 crore for this purpose.

11:35 27 Jun
Punjab Young Entrepreneur Programme

Punjab Young Entrepreneur Programme: Punjabis are known for their entrepreneurial leadership but unfortunately our education system in the past did not focus on development of these essential entrepreneurial skills in students studying in schools. We believe that entrepreneurial skill is the main pillar of strength of our society and on this strong foundation, we intend to march forward. Punjab Young Entrepreneur Programme is a start-up programme where class 11 students would be encouraged to propose their original business ideas, which would be supported by the government by providing seed money @ ₹2,000 per student. This programme is aimed to instill financial and leadership skills in the students, which would equip them to take charge of their careers later in their lives. I propose an allocation of ₹50 crore during FY 2022-23 for this purpose.

11:33 27 Jun
The total budget size is Rs 1,55,860 crore

The total budget size is Rs 1,55,860 crore, an increase in Budget size by 14.2 per cent.

The Revenue Deficit and Fiscal Deficit is pegged at 1.99 and 3.78 per cent for 2022-23.

11:30 27 Jun
Gender-Based Budgeting guidelines

It also introduces Gender-Based Budgeting guidelines, World Bank-assisted Building Fiscal and Institutional Resilience (BFAIR) Project, Tax Intelligence Unit.

It also introduces Consolidated Sinking Fund. “To consolidate the State Finances and create adequate provision for disposal of debt commitments in future, my Government has contributed ₹1,000 crore in Consolidated Sinking Fund (CSF) of the state within first two months, taking the cumulative contribution to ₹3,988 crore, while the previous governments could only contribute ₹2,988 crore over all these years.”

11:22 27 Jun
Budget lays provisions of introducing Fiscal Risk Management

FM says this is a budget prepared by the people, who had given their suggestions.

Budget lays provisions of introducing Fiscal Risk Management.

11:16 27 Jun
One MLA one pension to be implemented

Says that 300 units of free power will be given.

We have made provisions for financial assistance to PSPCL for the same.

One MLA one pension to be implemented.

11:15 27 Jun
FM interrupted by Sukhpal Khaira

As the FM speaks, he is interrupted by Sukhpal Khaira, who points out that the budget documents are not uploaded on the app.

Hard copies of the budget now being presented.

11:14 27 Jun
Services of 36,000 contractual employees to be regularised

We have worked against the corrupt, including against our own minister.

Our government has decided to recruit people against 26,400 posts in government sector.

Services of 36,000 contractual employees to be regularised.

11:06 27 Jun
Punjab Budget to be paperless

Punjab Budget to be paperless. All documents are being uploaded on a mobile application, called Punjab Budget.

Finance Minister Harpal Cheema begins presenting the budget.

He says he is here to present the first budget of the AAP government.

Says: I dedicate this budget to the people of Punjab who have laid down their lives for the welfare of Punjab.

11:05 27 Jun
Manish Sisodia present at Budget Session

Delhi deputy CM Manish Sisodia and Rajya Sabha MP Vikramjit Sahney present at the Budget presentation.

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