In Punjab budget before election year, agricultural loan exemption, no new taxes
Ahead of the assembly elections, scheduled for early next year, Punjab’s Finance Minister Manpreet Badal on Monday presented a “poll-oriented” budget for the 2021-22 fiscal year with an expenditure of $ 1. 68,015 crore rupees offering a host of populist measures while making the bulk of its provisions for agriculture, urban development, water resources, health and other sectors.
Introducing the Congressional government’s latest budget, Manpreet dedicated it to farmers protesting the Centre’s three farm laws. While deciding not to levy new taxes, Manpreet announced the next phase of the harvest loan waiver, with an allocation of Rs 1,712 crore, of which Rs 1,186 crore of 1.13 lakh from farmers and Rs 526 crore of landless agricultural workers. Already, the state government has granted debt relief of Rs 4,624 crore to 5.83 lakh from small marginal producers.
In order to revive the economy affected by the Covid disruption, the Minister of Finance also announced that stores and all commercial establishments would now remain open 24/7.
The free power for farmers will continue as before, Manpreet said, allocating Rs 7,180 crore for the purpose. He informed the House that over the past four years, the government led by Amarinder Singh has provided free electricity to 14.23 lakh farmers in the amount of Rs 23,851 crore.
Manpreet said the state government intends to recruit vacancies for a lakh on a gradual basis. “The government will fill 48,989 positions in the first phase and complete the remaining recruitments according to the vacant position available during 2021-2022,” he said, adding that the state government was able to Facilitate the employment of 16.29 lakh youth till date and aims to facilitate employment for another 10 lakh youth next year for which a budget allowance of Rs 428 crore has been made.
Among the main proposals, he announced to increase the old age pension from Rs 750 to Rs 1,500 per month and increased the amount granted under the Shagun scheme from Rs 21,000 to Rs 51,000 as of July 1. The monthly pension for freedom fighters has also been increased from Rs 7,500 per month to Rs 9,400 per month.
Manpreet also announced the implementation of the recommendations of the Sixth Wages Commission for Government Employees effective July 1, 2021. “I am also announcing to pay arrears, if any, in installments with the first installment paid. in October 2021 and the second installment in January 2022, ”Manpreet said.
Stating that the welfare and prosperity of farmers was the central theme of the state government, he announced a new program “Kamyaab Kisan Khushaal Punjab” worth Rs 3,780 crore. Under this program, some key initiatives are proposed such as the fixing of the base price for horticultural crops and the payment of the deficiency price as compensation, two new programs to mitigate the risks of producers, a research center and information on agricultural marketing innovation to help farmers achieve better returns through marketing intelligence reports, etc., he said.
The minister also announced a mega museum and park dedicated to Dr Bhim Rao Ambedkar which will cover 22 acres of land in Kapurthala at a cost of Rs 100 crore.
Social sector spending has been increased by 72 percent from Rs 2,320 crore in the last budget to Rs 4,000 crore for the next fiscal year.
The budget proposed an allocation of Rs 7,856 crore for health infrastructure; Rs 17,051 crore for agriculture and allied sectors; Rs 6,827 crore for weaker sections of society; and Rs 16,302 crore for education and related sectors. Rs 16,557 crore has been allocated for rural, urban and other infrastructure.
While the total budget size is Rs 1,68,015 crore, the actual expenditure, after providing for a provision of Rs 30,000 crore for track and means transactions for the current year, is Rs 1,38,015 crore . Total revenue for the 2021-22 fiscal year is expected to be Rs 1,622,599 crore, bringing the revenue deficit to Rs 8,622 crore.
Stating that the Congressional government’s careful fiscal management has led to a recovery in state finances, which were left in a precarious state by the previous SAD-BJP government, said Manpreet, “The GSDP has grown, on average, at the rate of 10.43 percent over the past three years (2017-18 to 2019-2020) against an average growth rate of 8.87 percent during the last three years of the previous government (2014-15 to 2016-17) ”.
The minister went on to say that the state’s GSDP had increased by 42.30% – from Rs 4,26,988 crore in 2016-2017 to Rs 6,07,594 crore in the 2021-22 budget estimates – and that the the state’s per capita income had increased. from Rs 1,28,780 in 2016-2017 to Rs 1,66,830 in 2019-2020, or 24.29% more than the national average of Rs 1,34,226.
Emphasizing that the Treasury had been in an overdraft period under the previous government for 148 days in 2014-15, 57 days in 2015-16 and 179 days in 2016-17, the state did not experience a double overdraft in the past. last four years. “Despite the drastic impact of confinement due to Covid-19 pandemic, the State has kept all its commitments without witnessing an overdraft even for a single day, ”he added.
The outstanding debt as a percentage of MSRP will increase in 2021-2022. Manpreet said this was mainly due to the government having to increase spending to turn around the sluggish economy which was further marred by the lockdown imposed due to the Covid-19 pandemic. Manpreet said the debt is expected to rise to Rs 2,73,703 crore by the end of March 2022, compared to Rs 252,880 crore for March 2021.
He said he tried to limit borrowing to 4 percent of the state’s gross domestic product. Manpreet criticized the Center for Agricultural Laws and said he was dedicating “this budget to Indian farmers and saluting their inspiring struggle which is already poised to gain legendary status.”