Punjab minister presents budget amid verbal spat between SAD MLAs and Navjot Singh Sidhuhttps://indianexpress.com/article/india/punjab-sad-mlas-target-sidhu-in-house-delay-budget-presentation-5589055/

Punjab minister presents budget amid verbal spat between SAD MLAs and Navjot Singh Sidhu

Punjab Budget: The House was briefly adjourned at around 12.30 pm as sloganeering continued; the Speaker ordered Marshalls to escort SAD and BJP members out of the House.

punjab budget session: SAD MLAs protest Navjot Singh Sidhu Pakistan remark on Pulwama attack
Punjab Budget: SAD MLAs burn photographs of Congress leader Navjot Singh Sidhu with Pakistan Prime Minister Imran Khan, and the Pakistan flag, outside the state legislative Assembly on Monday. (Express Photo)

Punjab Finance minister Manpreet Badal was forced to cut short his Budget presentation in the Legislative Assembly Monday due to protests by Shiromani Akali Dal (SAD) leaders over the Pulwama attack. SAD MLAs caused disruption in the House after they trooped into the Well of the House demanding the resignation of Congress leader Navjot Singh Sidhu, who had remarked that a country (Pakistan) can’t be blamed for the actions of a few individuals.

The House was briefly adjourned at around 12.30 pm as sloganeering continued and the Speaker ordered Marshalls to escort SAD and BJP members out of the House. Congress leaders, meanwhile, gathered around Sidhu in support and at one point, had to physically restrain him from going after SAD MLA Bikram Singh Majithia.

Ahead of the session, SAD MLAs set ablaze photographs of Sidhu with Pakistan Prime Minister Imran Khan and the Pakistan flag.

Speaking to reporters outside the House Monday, Sidhu said: “I stick to my stand. We must eliminate the root cause of terrorism. Terrorism destroys peace and divides the country. Those who committed this grave offence must be brought to justice. The punishment must act as a deterrent for generations.

Watch Video: Navjot Sidhu says he stands by his remark on Pakistan

“Who freed Azhar in 1990? Whose responsibility is it now? Our fight is with them. We want to ask why can’t there be a permanent solution, why are soldiers dying?” he added.

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Punjab Budget announcement

Manpreet Badal announced that during the current fiscal, the GSDP of the state has increased from Rs 4,70,137 crore in the last fiscal to Rs 5,18,291 crore. Per capita income in the state has also increased from Rs 1.4 lakh in 2017-18 to Rs 1.5 lakh in the current fiscal — this is 22.06 per cent higher than the national average of Rs 1.2 lakh.

Punjab minister presents budget amid verbal spat between SAD MLAs and Navjot Singh Sidhu
Punjab Finance Minister addressing media after presenting Punjab Budget 2019 at Vidhan Sabha Chandigarh. (Express: Kamleshwar Singh)

The state’s revenue receipts are estimated to rise from Rs 70,399 crore in the current fiscal to Rs 78,510 crore in the next fiscal. Punjab’s tax revenue is pegged to grow at 15.06 per cent.

The total expenditure is projected to increase to Rs 1,58,493 crore in 2019-20, while total outstanding debt as on March 31, 2019, is projected at Rs 2,12,276 crore.

Also read | Country always first, my statement distorted: Navjot Sidhu on Pulwama attack

The government said crop burning incidents have been reduced by 12.4 per cent. It has proposed Rs 375 crore for stubble management, Rs 3,000 crore towards farm loan waiver and Rs 8,969 crore for power subsidy to farmers. Further, Rs 1,513 crore has been allocated for subsidised power to industry.

“Our government in the next phase of implementation of the scheme, will waive off the loans of landless farm labourers and the families of farmers who have been forced to commit suicides,” Badal was quoted as saying to PTI.

The government announced a new policy called ‘Make in Punjab’ which was being drafted to promote goods manufactured and produced in the state apart from the construction of a new sports complex which will be set up in Jalandhar. Building old age homes in Barnala and Mansa are also in the loop, Badal said.

The government has also promised allocated Rs 300 crore for the 550th anniversary of Guru Nanak.

Rs 5 crore has been allocated to mark the centenary year of the 1919 Jallianwala Bagh massacre. Rs 1,228 crore is earmarked for education, socio-economic and other development programmes for SCs.