Updated: March 8, 2021 10:55:47 pm
Having faced criticism for being tight-fisted while allocating funds to departments, Punjab Finance Minister Manpreet Singh Badal liberally loosened the purse strings while presenting the budget for financial year 2021-22 — the last budget of the Amarinder Singh-led government.
As the state heads to polls early next year, Manpreet, in his budgetary document, has proposed a massive hike in spending for several key sectors.
Some of the key funding areas are as follows:
Urban infrastructure development under the local bodies department has been allotted Rs 7,192 crore for 2021-22, which is an increase of 68 per cent over 2020-2021 Revised Estimates of Rs 4,270 crore.
For Smart Cities mission, Manpreet has allotted Rs 1600 crore. Ludhiana, Amritsar and Jalandhar have already been selected under Government of India’s smart cities mission and Sultanpur Lodhi has been included as a special case.
An outlay of Rs 1,400 crore has been proposed under Atal Mission for Rejuvenation and Urban Transformation (AMRUT) and Rs 114 crore for Swachh Bharat Mission (Urban). A total of Rs 500 crore have been allotted for Punjab Environment Improvement Programme (PUIEP).
During 2021-22, works of Rs 975 crore are proposed to be taken up by Punjab Infrastructure Development Board, which includes tourist destination at Ranjit Sagar Lake at a cost of Rs 450 crore and commercial complexes-cum-exhibition centres at Mohali, Ludhiana and Amritsar at a combined cost of Rs 525 crore.
The government plans to build 25,000 houses for economically weaker sections and 25,000 affordable houses for other categories of citizens.
Roads and bridges
Rs 2,449 crore has been earmarked for roads and bridges, out of which Rs 575 crore is for upgradation, construction and repair of roads and bridges of 560 km length to be undertaken during 2021-22.
Rs 160 crore is proposed for upgradation of 124 rural roads. Under Central Road Fund (CRF) scheme, Rs 250 crore has been earmarked for various works on 308 km of roads.
The government would continue to provide free electricity of 300 units per month upto 1 Kw to freedom fighters and 200 units per month upto 1 Kw to the SC, BC, and non-SC Below Poverty Line (BPL) consumers. An allocation of Rs 1,513 crore has been proposed during 2021-22 for this.
One of the key focus areas of the government — school education — has been allotted Rs 11,861 crore. This includes Rs 350 crore for mid-day meal, Rs 50 crore for procuring computers in primary schools, Rs 140 crore for digital education, and Rs 100 crore for smart phones.
A ‘Teachers Transfer Act’ to be brought in to make transfer policy a permanent arrangement and also ‘The Punjab Education (Recruitment of Teachers in Disadvantageous Areas) Act’.
Social justice, empowerment and minorities
An allocation of Rs 1,372 crore has been made for 2021-22, which is an increase of 52 per cent over Rs 901 crore allotted last fiscal under various welfare schemes for educational, socio-economic and other development programmes.
Rs 60 crore have been allocated for pre-matric and Rs 750 crore for post-matric scholarship schemes for Scheduled Caste children.
A sum of Rs 3,744 crore has been allotted for creation of rural infrastructure and rural livelihood. Rs 1,175 crore allotted for smart village campaign and Rs 400 crore for MGNREGS.
A new umbrella programme, Kamyab Kisan Khushaal Punjab, with an outlay of Rs. 3,780 crore is to be implemented during the next three years. An outlay of Rs 1,104 crore has been earmarked for 2021-22.
Rs 200 crore has been allocated for Krishi Vikas Yojana for ensuring more inclusive and integrated development of agriculture and allied services; another Rs 200 crore allocated for crop diversification;
In order to further improve the farming conditions, announcements for new debt waiver schemes were done in the budget today which also includes 3,260 crore rupees for ‘Kisan Kaamyaab, Khushaal Punjab’ scheme along with 7,180 crore rupees for for free electricity for farmers. pic.twitter.com/IKbBikI1UG
— Punjab Congress (@INCPunjab) March 8, 2021
Rs 40 crore has been proposed for in-situ crop residue management while Rs 361 crore has been allotted for horticulture, marketing of produce and food processing.
Rs 300 crore allocated to provide support to sugarcane farmers and Rs 60 crore proposed for modernisation and expansion of surgar mills of Gurdaspur and Batala.
Health, family welfare and medical education
Rs 3,822 crore allocated for health and family welfare to strengthen health infrastructure.
Free Covid-19 vaccination will be provided to every eligible beneficiary.
Rs1,008 crore allocated for promoting medical education, which is 85 per cent more than last year’s allocation to the sector.
New medical colleges will be set up in Gurdspur and Malerkotla after getting sanction from the Government of India.
Rs 3,214 crore allocated, which is an increase of 40 per cent over 2020-21 revised estimates.
The state proposes to undertake Concrete Lining Rehabilitation, Renovation and Modernization of Lahore Branch System on 347-km in Gurdaspur and Amritsar to benefit 150 villages. An allocation of Rs 150 crore has been provided for this purpose.
For the integrated project to address water logging problem in south-western districts of Punjab, Rs 50 crore has been allocated.
Seven hostels will be constructed for working women in Jalandhar, Patiala, Ludhiana, Mansa, Mohali, Barnala, and Amritsar at a cost of Rs 50 crore.
Promotion of Punjabi Language and Culture
The award amounts for Punjabi Sahit Ratan Award and Shiromani Award doubled from Rs 10 lakh to Rs 20 lakh and Rs 5 lakh to Rs 10 lakh, respectively.
Prize money for Best Literary Book Award increased from Rs 21,000 to Rs 31,000 and for the Best Printing Book Awards of Punjabi, Hindi and Urdu languages from Rs 11,000 to Rs 21,000.
Sports and youth services
Rs 147 crore has been allocated, which is an increase of 20 per cent over last fiscal. Rs 15 crore has been provided for Maharaja Bhupinder Singh Punjab Sports University, Patiala.
A total allocation of Rs 100 crore has been done for completing the ongoing constructions/renovation work in government colleges.
An education college and a new girls’ college will be opened at Malerkotla.
Rs 5 crore has been allocated for setting up a Centre on Guru Granth Sahib at Guru Nanak Dev University, Amritsar.
Rs 9.08 crore has been allocated for setting up of chairs — Maharana Pratap Chair, Maharaja Agarsain Chair, Shaheed Udham Singh Chair and Gurdial Singh Chair at Punjabi University, Patiala and Dr BR Ambedkar Chair, Satguru Ram Singh Chair, Sant Baba Prem Singh Ji Murale Wale Chair and Jalianwala Bagh Chair at Guru Nanak Dev University, Amritsar
Rs 135 crore has been allocated for defence welfare with another Rs 64 crore for guardians of governance scheme.
Rs 1,928 crore has been allocated for industrial power subsidy and Rs 10 crore proposed for ‘Financial assistance to start-ups’.
Rs 22 crore has been proposed for creation of capital assets in Hi-Tech Cycle valley, Ludhiana.
Shops and all commercial establishments will remain open 24×7 throughout the year.
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