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Posted at: Mar 15, 2016, 11:35 AM; last updated: Mar 15, 2016, 4:56 PM (IST)

Punjab gets election-year budget, strong on social welfare

Punjab gets election-year budget, strong on social welfare
Punjab Finance Minister Parminder Singh Dhindsa presents Budget 2016-17 in Punjab Vidhan Sabha in Chandigarh on Tuesday. Tribune photo: Manoj Mahajan

Ruchika M Khanna

Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, March 15

Punjab Finance Minister Parminder Singh Dhindsa today presented the budget for the state for 2016-17, laying stress on social welfare schemes and the youth. 

Highlights

— Punjab Finance Minister Parminder Singh Dhindsa presents a budget of Rs  86,387 crore. Annual plan of Rs 25,479 crore approved for 2016-17. This is the fifth and last budget to be presented by the Akali BJP government. Rs 1,100 crore earmarked for social security pensions, after pension amount for elderly beneficiaries was doubled. Computerisation of all depots of Punjab Roadways to be undertaken at a cost of Rs 2 crore: Dhindsa. 

— Punjab to have a revenue deficit of Rs 7, 983 crore, with the revenue receipts expected to grow by around 8 per cent in the next fiscal. Revenue receipts for the current fiscal (2015–16) are estimated to fall short by more than Rs 1,000 crore against the targeted revenue receipts for this year. 

— Revenue deficit for the current fiscal is Rs 7,562 crore.

— Punjab’s GSDP expected to grow to Rs 4.54 lakh crore.  GSDP set to grow at 5.96 per cent in the current fiscal. 

— Number of households with unpaid loans in Punjab is 66 per cent — third highest in country after Andhra Pradesh and Tamil Nadu. Rs 10 crore set aside to pay as compensation for family of farmers who commit suicide. Rs 700 crore earmarked for New Atta Dal scheme. Rs 40 crore for Border Area Development Programme.

— New scheme — Swasth Kanya Yojna — introduced. All girls in classes 1-12 to get stationery free of cost. Girls in class 6-12 to get health-care kits on monthly basis. 

— Women members to get loans up to Rs 50,000 at an interest rate of 9 per cent through primary agricultural cooperative societies. 

— Punjab Government to provide special women’s patrolling teams around schools, colleges and malls

— 200 skill-development centres for youth. Rs 20 crore to be spent on their training, mostly in rural areas. 4,000 modern gymnasiums to be set up in towns and villages at cost of Rs 200 crore.

— Interest-free education loan of up to Rs 5 lakh for youth from economic weaker sections. A start-up programme for innovative research and enterprise announced with an outlay of Rs 100 crore.

— Farmers to get interest free crop loans of Rs 50,000 per crop to small and marginal farmers (having less than 5 acres land holding) and interest burden of 4 per cent to be borne by state government. Government will spend Rs 200 crore on this.

— New Farmer provident fund and pension scheme introduced; to be implemented by Punjab State Cooperative Bank.

— SC Scholarship fund with corpus of Rs 100 crore to be given to universities and institutes on behalf of all SC students who study there.

— Free uniforms and stationery to be provided to SC students. 400 Middle schools to be upgraded to high schools at a cost of Rs 445 crore.  State government to start an education channel: Vidya TV to broadcast education programmes.

— Punjab to develop 200 smart villages in 2016-17, which will have 4 g connectivity, solar street lights, Sewa kendras and sewerage and drainage facilities. To increase communal bonding, govt proposes common cremation grounds. 50 rebate in CLU, EDC and licence free on all affordable housing projects to be started. Stamp duty to be reduced by 20 percent on first purchase conveyance deed on all new flats to encourage affordable housing. Reduction in collector rates for assessing stamp duty across Punjab by 15 per cent.

— 25 per cent rebate on EDC, CLU and licence fee to all new housing sector projects to boost to real estate sector. 

— Punjab Budget proposes to set up Hi Tech Cycle valley in 300 acres for Ludhiana cycle industry.

— Industrial manufacturing cluster in 200 acres to be set up in Rajpura. Sourcing of goods manufactured in Punjab to be encouraged.

— VAT on cotton and other types of yarn (excluding 100 per cent polyester filament yarn) from 6.05 to 3.63 percent.  Apna Tax Scheme launched for general public. Customers can upload their bills and draw of lots online.

— New 1.65 lakh tubewell connections to be provided this year. To reduce agriculture subsidy on power, all tubewells in state to replace pump sets with energy efficient pump sets.

— 2,000 new health centres to be set up in Punjab where 218 essential medicines to be provided free of cost to all patients. Free blood, urine and other basic tests and emergency treatment announced for first 24 hours

— Punjab abolishes entertainment tax on cultural, music and theatre shows and films that promote Punjabi culture and language.

— State government earmarks Rs 50 crore for celebration of 350th anniversary of Guru Gobind singh.

— Inami Bagh in Hoshiarpur district declared as national biodiversity heritage site.

— Rs 140 crore set aside for Mukh Mantri Tirath Darshan Yatra programme.

— Rs 5,600 crore power subsidies to be given this year, including Rs 655 crore for rural poor who get free electricity supply.  

— Budget allocation for agriculture sector is Rs 7,490 crore.  PAU, Ludhiana, to get Rs 315 crore. 

— New veterinary college at Rampura Phool to be set up. Rs 445 crore for animal husbandry proposed in budget. Rs 11 crore allocated for dairy development. An outlay of Rs 2,705 crore proposed for irrigation. 

— Emphasis was on sops; no new taxes imposed. 

— Punjab government to recruit 12, 000 new teachers. Rs 105 crore allocated for meritorious schools. Rs 100 crore fund for the revamp of IT infrastructure in schools.  In all education department gets Rs 8732 crore. 

— Rs 3,295 crore under Medical and Public Health in 2016–17. Industry gets Rs 223 crore. 

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