Tax-free budget in Punjab

Amarinder Singh during the budget session of the Punjab Vidhan Sabha in Chandigarh on Friday.  

Punjab Finance Minister Manpreet Singh Badal on Friday presented tax-free budget proposals for the year 2020-21 with a total outlay of ₹1.54 lakh crore.

Presenting the budget in the ongoing Assembly session, he said the retirement age of government employees will be reduced to 58 years from 60 years at present to enhance employment opportunities for the youth.

“..The fiscal situation is now under control with the indicators going up. Punjab’s economy is better than before. The next two years will witness a substantial improvement in the lives of Punjabis,” he said.

Outstanding debt

Mr. Badal said the outstanding debt of the State in 2020-21 is likely to be ₹2,48,236 crore, as against the 2019-20 revised estimates of ₹2,28,906 crore.

“We are all aware of the economic slowdown in the country. However, given the composition of the State’s economy, our advanced estimates indicate that during 2019-20, the Gross State Domestic Product (GSDP) of the State has increased from ₹5,21,861 crore in 2018-19 to ₹5,74,760 crore at current prices...the State’s GSDP during the year 2020-21 would further rise to ₹6,44,326 crore. The per capita income of the State has also increased from ₹1,54,996 in 2018-19 to ₹1,66,830 in 2019-20 and is 23.53% higher than the national average of ₹1,35,050,” said Mr. Badal.

Mr. Badal said as a result of the fiscal recovery, this year the government has estimated that the State’s Total Revenue Receipts (TRR) are expected to rise from ₹73,975 crore in 2019-20 (RE) to ₹88,004 crore in 2020-21 (BE) — an increase of 18.96%.

During the same period, the Own Tax Revenue (OTR) is pegged to grow from ₹33,739 crore in 2019-20 (RE) to ₹35,824 crore in 2020-21 (BE),” he said.

“..The State’s total expenditure is projected to be at ₹1,54,805 crore in 2020-21 (BE). A breakdown of the total expenditure shows that the State’s revenue expenditure is expected to grow from ₹86,602 crore in 2019-20 (RE) to ₹95,716 crore in 2020-21 (BE), an increase of 10.52%,” added Mr. Badal.

The Minister said under the next phase of the Crop Loan Waiver scheme, a total allocation of ₹2,000 crore, including ₹520 crore specifically for waiving off the loans of landless and farm workers has been made. He announced that provision of free electricity to farmers will continue, for which ₹8,275 crore have been allocated.

Mr. Badal said in view of the stabilising fiscal consolidation of the State, he proposes to increase the Dearness Allowance (DA) by 6% to all the employees and pensioners.

“The 6th Punjab Pay Commission was set up in 2016 and is expected to submit its recommendation in near future. Aware of this, I have made a suitable provision in the budget estimates for 2020-21,” he added.

Education sector

An amount of ₹13,092 crore have been earmarked for the education sector and ₹4,675 crore for the health sector in the budget.

Mr. Badal added that the government has decided to grant free education in government schools to all students up to Class XII. Currently, the government provides free education to students up to Class VIII and to girl students up to Class XII.

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Printable version | Dec 3, 2020 11:42:48 PM | https://www.thehindu.com/news/cities/kolkata/tax-free-budget-in-punjab/article30946822.ece

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