Agriculture, health, education priority; Punjab FM presented a budget of Rs 1.96 lakh crore
Chandigarh: Punjab Finance Minister Harpal Cheema today presented a budget of Rs 1.96 lakh crore for the financial year 2023-24, mainly focusing on agriculture, health, education and employment generation.
Speaking in the assembly, Cheema said the total budget size has increased by 20 per cent to Rs 1,96,462.28 crore as compared to Rs 1,55,859.78 crore in the previous year. Although no new tax has been imposed, the state government is targeting a revenue receipt of Rs 98,852.13 crore, while the estimated expenditure is Rs 1,23,440 crore.
Harpal Cheema, Finance Minister Cheema announced Crop Insurance Scheme, Market Price Risk Mitigation Scheme for horticulture crops and setting up of five horticulture estates. There is a plan to set up micro and mini forests to increase the green cover of Punjab. Multi-purpose sports arenas are to be set up at district and subdivision level.
To give a boost to the health sector, 142 new Aam Aadmi clinics are in the pipeline. A ‘School of Eminence’ has been planned in each of the 117 assembly constituencies, while two new medical and 11 other colleges have been proposed.
“There is a revenue deficit of Rs 24,588.78 crore, but we have not imposed any new tax. We propose to widen the tax net and plug the loopholes in collection to generate additional revenue. Tax Intelligence Unit is being strengthened for better compliance. SGST collection will increase, so excise and stamp duty collection will help increase our revenue receipts by Rs 5,288.92 crore compared to the current fiscal,” said the finance minister, who presented the paperless budget.
He said that within a year of the Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) government taking over, Punjab’s revenue receipts have increased by nearly 20 per cent to Rs 15,394.90 crore, and they have swapped several high-interest loans with low-interest ones.
However, the opposition Congress was not enthused. Its MLAs walked out of the House while the budget was being presented because their provision question (on Rs 1,000 monthly honorarium for women) was not taken up.
To check tax evasion by traders and reduce excess GST revenue, Cheema announced a scheme “Bill leo inam pao”. Customers will have to submit their bills for consumer durables and all items covered by GST to the taxation department, which will hold a monthly draw and give away the prizes. This will help the government to get the exact details of GST collected and how much was actually deposited.
The AAP government has reserved Rs 20,717.17 crore for social services (general education, housing, medical, public health, etc.) the largest share of the outlay, followed by agriculture (Rs 2,572.54 crore), rural development (Rs 2,361.32 crore) and transport (Rs 2,361.32 crore). 2,259.41 crores). However, a major chunk of the allocation will go towards payment of salaries (Rs 34,620.26 crore) and pensions (Rs 18,000 crore). This is 53% of the state’s total revenue receipts for the next financial year.
In addition, Rs 38,626 crore will go towards servicing the growing public debt of the state, which will increase to Rs 3,47,542.39 crore by March 2024. By the end of this financial year, the debt of the state will be Rs 3,12,758.24 crore. , which shows that the AAP borrowed Rs 30,986 crore in its first year in office. In the next financial year, the state will borrow Rs 34,784 crore, indicating that the debt service of the state will exceed the amount the state will borrow in 2023-24.
Although the treasury bench appreciated the 300 units of free power introduced by his government to domestic consumers, the power subsidy increased to Rs 20,243.76 crore. This includes subsidy of Rs 7,780 crore for domestic consumers, Rs 9,331 crore for agricultural pumpset consumers and Rs 2,700 crore for industrial consumers. The government has also decided to carry the “legacy item” of free travel for women in state-owned buses and has set aside Rs 497 crore for it.
Cheema said his government has repaid Rs 15,946 crore as principal and Rs 20,100 crore as interest on loans taken by previous governments this year. “In the next financial year, we will have to repay Rs 38,626 crore as principal and interest. Nevertheless, we have managed to create a huge corpus of Rs 3,000 crore in the sinking fund for loan repayment or emergency use.
117 ‘Eminent School’
Four schools in Amritsar district to be upgraded into ‘School of Eminence’ I pilot project, one in each assembly seat
New Aam Aadmi Clinic
142 new Aam Aadmi Clinics, part of AAP government’s flagship program, to be set up across Punjab
price risk mitigation plan
Schemes for Crop Insurance and Market Price Risk Mitigation for Horticulture Crops