Punjab Budget 2017-18: Focus on reducing debt, minimising waste, says Manpreet Singh Badal

The state’s salary bill has been listed out to be Rs 20,872 crore while pensions and retiral benefits will touch Rs 10,147 crore.

By: Express News Service | Chandigarh | Published: June 21, 2017 12:29:47 am
Punjab Budget, Manpreet Singh Badal, Punjab debt, Punjab tax Finance Minister Manpreet Badal at Vidhan Sabha on Tuesday. (Express Photo)

Out of the total budget of Rs 1,18,237.90 crore, the effective budget size would be Rs 90,737 crore, excluding the budget provision of Rs 27,500 crore towards ways and means transactions during the current year. The total receipts are likely to be Rs 1,05,514.84 crore with state’s own tax revenue expected to be Rs 39,526 crore. Its non-tax revenue is proposed to be Rs 3,224 crore, share of central taxes at Rs 10,650 crore. The state expects grants-in-aid from the Centre to be worth Rs 6,678 crore. The state’s salary bill has been listed out to be Rs 20,872 crore while pensions and retiral benefits will touch Rs 10,147 crore. Salaries consume the lion’s share of the state’s revenues and have been a cause of concern for the respective governments.

“The government faces the daunting challenge of fulfilling its promises to the people of Punjab under extreme budgetary pressures. In the first year, our focus will be two-fold: to gradually reduce the crushing burden of debt… and restore its fiscal health while at the same time taking immediate measures to ensure efficient use of resources already allocated by minimising waste and improving accountability,” Finance Minister Manpreet Singh Badal said while the budget. Revenue expenditure has increased to Rs 62,733.81 crore in 2016-17, from Rs 18,544 crore in 2006-07, a jump of 238 per cent, the minister said.

During the same period, expenditure on salaries rose to Rs 19,800 crore from Rs 5,783 crore, pension to Rs 8,140 crore from Rs 1,905 crore and interest to Rs 11,982 crore from Rs 4,152 crore. Pre-poll promises, kept or not

In the budget the government, besides the loan waiver, raised the old age monthly pension by Rs 250. The pension would now be Rs 750 per month. The government had promised to raise it to Rs 2,000 but the FM said he is hugely “constrained by fiscal stress of the state.”

The acid attack victims will be getting a pension of Rs 8,000 per month, the shagun scheme has been raised from Rs 15,000 to Rs 21,000. Rs 10 crore has been set aside for providing cell phones to youth as was promised. The FM said the state may not need to spend the money as a global tender may ensure a private company to provide the smart phones free of cost. An amount of Rs 91 crore has been kept aside for employment generation as the government has promised to ensure one lakh youths get employment avenues through its Apni Gaddi Apna Rozgar Scheme, Yaaro Enterprises and Hara Tractor Schemes. The government has not be able to fulfill its promise of providing Rs 2500 unemployment allowance. The government has also set aside Rs 500 crore for sugar and tea leaves alongwith the atta-dal scheme. This was also a prepoll promise of the government.

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