VISIONARY BUDGET HAS PAVED WAY FOR SUBSTANTIAL IMPROVEMENT IN LIVES OF PUNJABIS, SAYS CAPT AMARINDER
· FLAYS AKALIS OVER PROTEST AT MANPREET BADAL’S HOME, CALLS IT DIVERSIONARY TACTIC TO DRAW PUBLIC ATTENTION FROM PROGRESSIVE BUDGET
Chandigarh, February 28: Complimenting Finance Minister Manpreet Badal for presenting a visionary budget for 2020-21, Punjab Chief Minister Captain Amarinder Singh on Friday promised substantial improvement in the lives of Punjabis over the next two years, with the fiscal situation now under control and the state’s economy significantly better than before.
With his futuristic budget projections, the Finance Minister had laid down a progressive roadmap that will chart the way for the state’s holistic growth and development, with all sections of the society set to be benefitted, said the Chief Minister.
Lashing out the Akalis for protesting outside Manpreet Badal’s residence ahead of the Budget presentation, Captain Amarinder said their sole objective was to prevent his government from continuing to work for the welfare of the state and its people. The Akalis, who had been responsible for destroying the state’s economy during the 10 years of their misrule, had clearly wanted to divert public attention from the progressive budget with these actions, he added.
In a statement issued here, Captain Amarinder said within three years, the state is back on track, and has reached a situation where there is no funding gap for the year 2020-21.
Given the economic mess that his government had inherited from the erstwhile SAD-BJP government, it was remarkable that the Debt to GSDP ratio had declined to 38.53% of GSDP, as against 42.75% in 2016-17. The Fiscal Deficit for 2020-21 projected at 2.92% of GSDP which is within the FRBM limit of 3%, he pointed out, promising further improvement in the situation over the next two years.
The Chief Minister welcomed the continued focus on Farmers and Agriculture in the Budget, which has allocated Rs 2000 crore for the implementation of the next phase of the Crop Loan Waiver Scheme, including for Landless Labourers and Farm workers. He also expressed satisfaction for the Rs 200 crore allocation for crop diversification, which remains a priority area for his government in view of its focus on weaning farmers away from the vicious paddy-wheat cycle.
The next fiscal would see youth benefitting even more from the employment generation programme under the ‘Ghar Ghar Rozgar’ scheme as a result of the Rs 324 crore outlay made for employment generation and skill development, said the Chief Minister. This was about 20 times increase over the Budget Estimates of Rs. 17.52 crore in 2016-17, the last year of the previous Government, he pointed out, adding that the reduction in retirement age will further lead to increase in jobs for youth.
With the allocation of Rs 100 crore for disbursement of Smart Mobile Phones to youth, his government would realise another key poll promise, said the Chief Minister.
Underlining his government’s commitment to women empowerment, the Chief Minister said the launch of the ‘Kasturba Gandhi Mahila Yojana’ would be a major step in this direction. Captain Amarinder also hailed the increased thrust on industrial development, as well as the hike in monthly financial assistance to the widows/next of kin of posthumous gallantry awardees and ex-servicemen of the pre-Independence era.
Education is another area which has been given significant importance by the Finance Minister in his budget, paving the way for the futuristic progress of the state and its people, said Captain Amarinder.
He also welcomed the notification of a new Assessment Policy under the Punjab Value Added Tax Act, 2005 for deciding the pending VAT assessment cases related to the financial years 2013-14 to 2016-17. This, the Chief Minister said, would help the small businessmen and traders, in particular, thus further scaling up the state’s focus on economic development.