Updated: June 28, 2022 12:05:10 pm
The first budget of the Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) presented by Finance Minister Harpal Singh Cheema on Monday came under sharp criticism from the opposition parties in Punjab.
Calling it a budget of empty platitude, leader of opposition in Vidhan Sabha and senior Congress leader Partap Singh Bajwa said the finance minister “made multiple promises, yet as we listened closer to the details, the government has shown no roadmap for their own promises to the people of Punjab.”
Punjab Pradesh Congress Committee (PPCC) chief and Gidderbaha MLA Amrinder Singh Raja Warring dismissed the budget as “bunch of lies” and also as “old wine in new bottle”.
Senior SAD (Sanyukt) leader and former finance minister Parminder Singh Dhindsa equated the budget with “sending a dream in an empty envelope” and “just a repetition of the budget presented during previous governments with manipulation of statistics”.
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SAD legislator party leader and Dakha MLA Manpreet Singh Ayali condemned AAP government of “mindlessly thrusting the failed Delhi model on Punjab”. Apart from raising various issues to hit out at AAP government, majority of the leaders of the opposition parties were unanimous in flaying AAP government for not making any announcement to fulfil the promise of Rs 1000 per month to every woman who was 18 years or above of age.
The opposition parties’ leaders also said there was no clarity on funds mobilization and the roadmap to implement promises like “free 300 units of power”.
“This is a hollow budget. It is nothing more than Mungerilal’s ke Rangeen Sapne. Colourful but hollow promises. Not a single guarantee of the AAP has been fulfilled,” he said, taking a swipe.
Questioning no announcement made regarding AAP’s pre-poll promise to every woman over 18 years of age, Bajwa said it was “a breach of trust”.
“On June 30, the Government of India will stop transferring Rs 14,000- Rs 15,000 crore a year as GST Compensation.
This is an extremely important point to understand given the overall debt load of the state. The government of Punjab’s answer to raising funds to fill this revenue gap is the “new excise policy.” Through this policy, the Finance Minister “theoretically” has announced the state would raise Rs 9,648 crore. There is no explanation of how the state would within a calendar year increase its collection of Excise Duty by 56%. Such an effort seems to be cleverly placed in the Budget speech and promoted via the AAP’s public relations team, with no real grounding on the realities of how this revenue would be raised,” Bajwa said, in a written statement.
“The Budget makes no mention of how the State is going to combat important social issues such as drugs that are plaguing our youth in the villages of Punjab. In-fact the word “drugs” makes no appearance throughout the entire speech,” he added.
Raja Warring stated, “Not a single promise that the Aam Aadmi Party made before elections has been touched in the budget”, he observed, while pointing out, there was not even a mention of providing Rs 1000 per month to all the women above the age of 18 in Punjab, which the AAP had promised before elections, filling tens of thousands of forms of women, who are now feeling cheated and betrayed.”
He said, “several schemes like the modernization of the bus stands were old ones and initiated by the previous Congress government.”
“It is like old wine in new bottles,” he remarked.
Manpreet Ayali said “the government had announced a token implementation of the Mohalla Clinic scheme for cheap publicity alone. The need of the hour is to strengthen the community health centres and create super specialty centres for which funds have not been allocated”.
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