Punjab FM Presents Populist Budget; Woos Farmers, Employees
Chandigarh: Almost a year ahead of the Assembly polls in Punjab, state Finance Minister Manpreet Badal on Monday tried to woo the farmers, women, elderly and government employees by presenting a populist but deficit Budget for the next fiscal.
Amid the ongoing farmers’ agitation against the three Central farm laws, Badal presented the fifth and the last Budget of the Amarinder Singh-led Congress government at an outlay of Rs 168,015 crore for 2021-22.
The total receipts are expected to be Rs 162,599 crore.
For the cash-strapped state, he announced to waive Rs 1,186 crore of 1.13 lakh farmers and Rs 526 crore of landless farmers in the next phase of the crop loan waiver scheme launched in 2021-22.
As per the Budget speech, there will be a provision of Rs 200 crore for crop diversification and Rs 7,180 crore to go as free power subsidy for the farmers.
“This year Punjab contributed 27 per cent of paddy and 32 per cent of wheat to the Central pool and the state paid Rs 13,774 crore on account of servicing of the cash credit limit (CCL) gap taken over by the previous SAD-BJP government till March 2021,” he said.
Under the new scheme for farmers — Kamyaab Kisan Khushaal Punjab, Badal said Rs 1,104 crore would be spent in 2021-22 with a total of Rs 3,780 crore in three years.
All women passengers and students can travel free of cost in government-run buses and a sum of Rs 170 crore has been allocated for this.
The Finance Minister announced to raise the old-age pension from Rs 750 to Rs 1,500 a month, the Shagun scheme from Rs 21,000 to Rs 51,000 and the monthly pension of freedom fighters from Rs 7,400 to Rs 9,400.
The pension of the Punjabi writers increased from Rs 5,000 to Rs 15,000 per month.
To commemorate the 550th birth anniversary of Sikhism founder Guru Nanak Dev, the government will set up an Interfaith Institute in Guru Nanak Dev University by spending Rs 432 crore.
For the employees, the Sixth Pay Commission for employees to be implemented from July 1.
The commission report to be submitted by March 31. The arrears will be given in instalments and Rs 9,000 crore has been set aside for it.
A total of 48,989 posts in government to be filled in the first phase against 1 lakh vacancies.
In education sector, Badal announced a slew of new schemes. They include two new medical colleges and hospital to be set up in Kapurthala and Hoshiarpur towns, entailing an expenditure of Rs 650 crore and two technical colleges will be upgraded to universities.
The state GSDP, he said, has increased from Rs 4,26,988 crore in 2016-17 to Rs 6,07,594 crore in 2021-22, i.e. an increase of 42.30 per cent over 2016-17.
Further, the per capita income of the state has increased from Rs 128,780 in 2016-17 to Rs 166,830 in 2019-20, a 24.29 per cent higher than the national average of Rs 134,226.
The total revenue receipts of the state are expected to grow by 98.52 per cent i.e. from Rs 47,985 crore in 2016-17 to Rs 95,258 crore in 2021-22.
An exponential growth of over 59 per cent is expected in the collection of excise duty on liquor, i.e. from Rs 4,406 crore in 2016-17 to Rs 7,002 crore in 2021-22, while the electricity duty collection will increase from Rs 1,993 crore in 2016-17 to Rs 3,026 crore in 2021-22.
Further, rationalisation of stamp duty on registration of property in urban areas by reducing it from the existing nine to six per cent led to an increase in stamps revenue by 12.43 per cent i.e. from Rs 2,044 crore in 2016-17 to Rs 2,298 crore in 2018-19 and is further expected to fetch Rs 2,890 crore in 2021-22.
The total outstanding debt of the state as on March 31 is projected at Rs 252,880 crore, which is 42 per cent of the GSDP for 2020-21 and the outstanding debt is likely to be Rs 273,703 crore in 2021-22, which is 45 per cent of the GSDP.