Concluding the debate on the 2021-22 budget, Punjab finance minister Manpreet Singh Badal on Wednesday said the state government has made a provision of a whopping ₹14,000 crore for capital investment against ₹10,280 crore in the current financial year to push development works in the state.
He delivered his speech amid protests by Shiromani Akali Dal (SAD) and Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) MLAs who were on the well of the House raising slogans against the government.
Despite appeals by speaker Rana KP Singh, the opposition MLAs continued to raise slogans questioning the government over its performance in the last four year.
SAD’s Bikram Singh Majithia alleged that the budget has fudged figures.
To this, the finance minister said, “The proposed committed liabilities of the state government came down to 68% in the current year from 91% in 2017 when the Capt Amarinder Singh took over as chief minister. The budget can’t be surplus as it doesn’t make sense for a growing economy.”
It is the success of the budget that the state government will raise ₹37,000 crore against a borrowing limit of ₹42,000 crore, he claimed.
Referring to the objections from the leaders of opposition, Manpreet said their real issue was not that there were shortcomings in the budget but the fact that the government has given its best and has reached out to all section of society. “The criticism of the budget is welcome in the spirit of democracy,” he said when starting his speech.
AAP’s Sarvjit Kaur Manuke said free travel for women was started so as to invite people to travel in government-run buses as no one travels in them.
“In the coming years, women recruited in government jobs will be empowered so much so that they will have the freedom to raise their families as they like. By the end of the year, 33,000 young women are expected to get jobs in government sector as per the reservation policy,” said the minister.
The success of the government’s move to increase monthly old age pension to ₹2,500 and shagun scheme to ₹51,000 can be judged from the happiness of the beneficiaries.
AAP legislator Kultar Singh Sandhwan said the government was unable to feel the pain of the beneficiaries of these schemes as it delayed their implementation by four years even as they were announced by the Congress in its 2017 poll manifesto.
Earlier, leader of opposition Harpal Singh Cheema said against the Congress’ promise to waive the entire ₹90,000 crore debt of farmers in its manifesto the beneficiaries got only ₹4,624 crore and a promise of ₹1,712 crore in the budgetary provisions for the upcoming year.
“Sixteen lakh jobs announced by the state government under the ‘Ghar Ghar Rozgar Yojana’ was a farce. Where is the white paper on the power purchase agreements? What about the CM’s promise to end all transport, sand, liquor mafias that continue to operate with impunity?” he asked.