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Punjab presents ₹1,55,860 crore budget

Punjab Finance Minister Harpal Singh Cheema presents the State budget for the year 2022-23 in the Assembly, in Chandigarh on Monday.

Punjab Finance Minister Harpal Singh Cheema presents the State budget for the year 2022-23 in the Assembly, in Chandigarh on Monday. | Photo Credit: PTI

Punjab Finance Minister Harpal Cheema on Monday presented the Aam Aadmi Party government’s first budget for the year 2022-23 with a total outlay of ₹1,55,860 crore.

The Finance Minister presented the State’s first paperless budget, a step expected to save ₹21 lakh per annum. The budget was presented in the State Assembly, which puts the current effective outstanding debt of Punjab at ₹2.63 Lakh crore. The budget proposals for the coming year focused on the education, health agriculture and police modernisation.

Mr. Cheema announced upgrading of 100 schools as ‘schools of eminence’, and setting up cyber-crime control units in all districts.

“I propose a total budget expenditure of ₹1,55,860 crore for the FY 2022-23, which reflects 14.20% growth compared to the FY 2021-22,” Mr. Cheema said in the Assembly.

The Finance Minister said he expected State’s revenue receipts in 2022-23 to increase by 17.08% compared to 2021-22, contributing ₹95,378 crore to the State exchequer. “Hallmark to this ambitious feat is that this would be done without imposing any new tax on the people of Punjab. The new excise policy would be a “game changer”, which would break monopolies-oligopolies that have developed in this sector over the years. We are hoping for an enhancement in our excise revenue to ₹9,648 crore, which would be a whopping increase of 56% over FY 2021-22. Again, efforts are already on to plug loopholes in GST collections. I expect a buoyancy of about 27% in GST collections in FY 2022-23, which would add around ₹4,350 crore more to the State kitty.

With the State’s earnings proposed at ₹95,378 crore against an expenditure of ₹1,55,860 crore, the State could see a revenue deficit of ₹12,553.80 crore.

Mr. Cheema said that the AAP government is fulfilling its first guarantee made to the people of Punjab by providing 300 units of domestic power free every month to all citizens of Punjab, with effect from July 1, 2022. The government, he said, will also set up 117 Mohalla clinics, for which ₹77 crore has been earmarked.

Leader of Opposition in Punjab Assembly, Partap Singh Bajwa of the Congress termed the budget as “hollow”, saying the government has shown no roadmap for their own promises to the people of Punjab.

“The Government of Punjab has made no announcement on giving ₹1,000 per month to every woman above 18. A key guarantee of the AAP Government, it seems the women of Punjab will have to wait at least for another year for this program to see the light of day. Also, the announcement has been made only for 117 Mohalla clinics. However, the requirement for Primary Health Care in Punjab is much larger than 117 clinics. The intention behind the scheme is to have essential services available in every village of Punjab,” said Mr. Bajwa.

Mr. Bajwa added that the budget makes no mention of how the State is going to combat important social issues such as the drug menace that is plaguing our youth. “By failing to even recognise such an important issue, how is the government going to effectively create a drug-free Punjab,” he said.

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Printable version | Aug 10, 2022 8:43:28 pm | https://www.thehindu.com/news/national/other-states/punjab-presents-155860-crore-budget/article65572140.ece