Updated: September 25, 2021 4:46:37 pm
UNION FINANCE Minister Nirmala Sitharaman, who was in Panchkula on Friday, lauded the Manohar Lal Khattar-led Haryana government for “handling its fiscal affairs very well”, adding that the state had not resorted to availing additional borrowings which were extended by the Centre for all states because of the Covid-19 pandemic.
“Haryana is one state which did not utilise its additional capacity of borrowings. They thought they would be able to manage and they managed without borrowing additionally,” a PTI report quoted her as saying. Sitharaman added that she had a quick word with Chief Minister Manohar Lal Khattar on the matter and he said, “We did not require to borrow.” “So, yes Haryana is managing its fiscal matters very well,” she said.
The minister also said that she made additional efforts to clear Punjab’s pending GST dues of more than Rs 1,400 crore, which should be recognised. Her remarks came against the backdrop of the Congress-led Punjab government often accusing the Centre of delaying Goods and Services Tax (GST) payments to the state.
“I definitely want to say what I did for Punjab,” Sitharaman said while replying to a question at a press conference here. She highlighted the assessment of some calculations based on the 2015-16 base year. She said that in 2019, Punjab’s Finance Minister Manpreet Singh Badal met her. “He told me there is a problem…I particularly paid attention to it and I cleared over Rs 1,400 crore for Punjab. For Punjab, it is not negative or less. I made additional efforts to clear their funds in GST. Please recognise it,” she said.
Sitharaman was in Panchkula Friday to attend a seminar on ‘Economic improvement and prosperity’, organised as a part of ‘Seva Samarpan Parv’, observed across the country to mark the birthday celebrations of Prime Minister Narendra Modi.
She said that “relentless reforms had been brought by the central government since 2014 to shift the country’s economy from being fragile to the fastest growing”.
According to a release issued by the Haryana government, the Union Minister said: “For the past 70 years, India was working in a socialised manner. However, since 2014, major reforms were brought to take the country out of this socialism. Since 2014, relentless reforms are brought by the central government. From legislative corrections to administrative corrections, every possible effort was made to take India on the atamnirbharta track and shifting the country’s economy from being fragile to fastest growing economy.”
“Today I feel pleased to visit Panchkula. Seva bhav is the main motto of the BJP even during the pandemic, no stone left unturned by the Prime Minister in encouraging everyone to keep working for the society at not only state but block and booth level as well. Despite Covid-19, which can be called one of the biggest crises of the century, the Narendra Modi-led government did not let anyone sleep hungry,” she said.
The Union minister further said that even during the lockdown period, the Prime Minister took regular meetings with high-level officers to ensure empowerment of every sector, poor, labourers, and migrants. “Five major Atamnirbhar Bharat announcements are the result of the direct interaction, dedication and timely directions given by the Prime Minister even during the pandemic.”
She said that various digital and economic reforms have been brought in every sector. “While introducing digital reforms during the pandemic, money was transferred to the Jan Dhan accounts of the eligible families through a single click. Today everyone in India has bank accounts,” said the Union minister.
“Even under the Pradhan Mantri Ujjwala Yojana, three cylinders were given free of cost along with free ration and food during the pandemic. DBT system was introduced for the complete eradication of ghost accounts. Besides this, major reforms are brought in even in the power sector,” she added.
Sitharaman presided over a meeting on economic reforms by the Modi government at the PWD guesthouse in Panchkula. She also oversaw the vaccination drive at a community centre in sector 17.
The minister began her Panchkula visit by paying obeisance at the Mata Mansa Devi temple. She was welcomed by Haryana Vidhan Sabha Speaker and local MLA Gian Chand Gupta, Health Minister Anil Vij and MP Rattan Lal Kataria.
During the vaccination drive, she interacted with some of the beneficiaries and also appreciated the healthcare workers and officers of the health department for ensuring smooth conduct of the vaccination drive. She lauded the state for effectively conducting vaccination programmes across the state and congratulated Vij for the same.
Vij apprised the Union Finance Minister that several steps have been taken to cover maximum people under the vaccination drives being carried out in the state.
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