Revenue Increase Enables Punjab For Record Outlay In Education, Agriculture & Other Major Sectors : Harpal Singh Cheema

Chandigarh : Punjab Vidhan Sabha on Saturday passed the Punjab Appropriation (no.3) Bill, 2023, tabled by Finance Minister Advocate Harpal Singh Cheema. As most of the members hailed the Budget while terming it remarkable and pro-people, Finance Minister also welcomed the suggestions of opposition on the Budget for FY 2023-24.

Giving his reply on general discussion on budget estimates, the Finance Minister said that due to concerted efforts of the Chief Minister Bhagwant Mann led Punjab Government, considerable hike has been recorded in revenue receipts, which enabled the Punjab Government to earmark record outlay in major sectors including Education and Agriculture.

He said that 45% hike has been recorded in Excise revenue, and Opposition should appreciate the efforts rather than opposing the policy for political reasons. He said that Punjab Government has registered 26% increase in Non-Tax Revenue, besides recording 23 per cent hike in state GST and 19% and 12% increase has been registered from Stamp and Registration and Taxes on Vehicles respectively.

He said that due to the increase in revenue, it has been possible to increase the budget by 20 percent for agriculture sector, 12 percent for education besides ensuring substantial increase in other important sectors.

Talking about the loan availed by the Punjab government, the Finance Minister said that the Punjab government has availed a loan of Rs. 28592 crore during the year 2007-2012, Rs. 99304 Crore from 2012 to 2017, and Rs. 99505 crore from 2017 to 2022.

He said that under the leadership of Chief Minister Bhagwant Mann, the Punjab government has been working strictly according to the law, and the loan was also taken within the permissible limits. He said the government has been ensuring the payment of the loan in a timely manner.

He said that the government has repaid a total of 36046 crores of debt, including principal payment of Rs. 15946 crores and interest payment of 20100 crores. He said that apart from this, Punjab Government has deposited Rs 3000 crore in the consolidated fund in the last one year, while only Rs 2900 crore was deposited in this fund in the five years of the previous government.

Referring to the assistance of Rs 2000 crore provided to bailout various government agencies, the Finance Minister said that the state government has provided assistance of Rs 885 crore to the Punjab Cooperative Agriculture Development Bank, Rs 300 crore to Punsup, Rs 400 crore to Sugarfed, Rs 135 crore to District Cooperative Banks, Rs 36 crore to Milkfed, and Rs 10 Crore to Fajilka Sugar Mill.

Advocate Cheema added that 6 per cent dearness allowance instalment was also paid to the Punjab Government employees besides paying Rs 1150 crore dues of Judicial Pay Commission pending since 2016. He said that the burden would not have increased so much if the previous governments had made the payments on time.



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