Conceding to the demands of the Congress leadership in the budget for 2019-20 fiscal, presented by Finance Minister Manpreet Singh Badal in Vidhan Sabha on Monday, the state has set aside about Rs 8,500 crore for local bodies and rural and panchayat development department.
With an outlay of Rs 4,324 crore for the local government, an increase of 19.94 per cent has been affected compared to last fiscal. For rural development, by setting aside Rs 4,109 crore, and effecting an increase of 36 per cent.
In recent meetings with Chief Minister Amarinder Singh, a number of leaders had rued that the government had not carried out any development in the cities as well as villages ever since it took over. A number of them had asked how would they go to people seeking votes when no work was done.
Former minister Rana Gurjit Singh has been vociferously condemning the government for the “poor state” Doaba is in. He has been complaining that the roads in Doaba region are in bad shape, amenities lacking.
After taking over the reins of the state, the government had stopped the development works started by Akalis and stated misuse of funds by them.
Rural Development Minister Tript Rajinder Singh Bajwa said they were preparing to develop villages as “sunder gram” (beautiful villages) with a mission to avoid movement of village residents to cities. “We will transform these villages so much that people will not look towards cities. There would be all city-like facilities. Also, we will clean ponds and work on sewerage system,” he said.
For public works department (buildings and roads), the government has set aside Rs 1,998 crore, with an increase of 21 per cent.
Similarly, the other departments that have received a lion’s share of the outlay include home with a budget of Rs 7,024 crore (9.08 per cent increase), health with Rs 3,465 crore (10.87 per cent increase), social security and women welfare with an outlay of Rs 2,835 (11.40 per cent increase), water supply with Rs 1,584 crore (6 per cent increase). The irrigation department has also got an outlay of Rs 1,740 crore, an increase of 7.53 per cent.
Tourism department has got the maximum increase of 47 per cent as the government has set aside Rs 622 crore. It is an important year for tourism in Punjab with the government celebrating the 550th birth anniversary of Guru Nanak Dev, commemorating the centenary of Jallianwala Bagh massacre.