Punjab passes vote-on-account

Punjab assembly passed vote-on-account of Rs 14,246 cr for first 3 mths of fiscal.

Written by Agencies | Chandigarh | Published: March 28, 2012 5:47:07 pm

The Punjab assembly today unanimously passed the vote-on-account of Rs 14,245.95 crore for the first three months (April-June) of the 2012-13 fiscal.

The motion regarding the vote-on-account was moved by Finance Minister Parminder Singh Dhindsa even as Chief Minister Parkash Singh Badal,Deputy Chief Minister Sukhbir Singh Badal and a number of MLAs,including former chief ministers Amarinder Singh and Rajinder Kaur Bhattal were not present in the House.

The House also adopted supplementary demands for grants for 2011-12,covering 24 grants and involving additional expenditure of Rs 3,849.12 crore comprising Rs 2,669.12 crore on the Revenue account and Rs 1,180 crores capital account.

After taking into account the related receipts and recoveries,these demands involved a net additional outgo of Rs 2,173.74 crore from the consolidated fund of the state.

Dhindsa presented the vote-on-account of the state government so as to enable the Punjab government to meet the day-to-day expenditure of various departments.

“I have decided to seek only a vote-on-account for the first three months of the fiscal 2012-13 as the SAD-BJP alliance government has assumed charge recently,” he said,adding that the regular budget of the state government would presented in June.

“We need some time to workout our budgetary strategies so as to fulfil the commitments made to the people of Punjab,” Dhindsa added.

He said that the finalisation of annual plan 2012-13 in consultation with the Planning Commission is still not complete.

A provision is also being made in estimates of vote-on- account for payment of 30 per cent arrears of salary of Pay Commission to state government employees in June,Dhindsa said.

The government will provide high end laptops to members of the House for viewing budget proposals and monitoring the development programmes,he said.

Noting that the government finances were presented in a distorted manner by opposition Congress,he said that the total outstanding debt of the state at the end of 2006-07 fiscal was Rs 48344 crore which work out to GSDP ratio of 38.03 per cent.

The total outstanding debt at the end of year 2011-12 is likely to be Rs 77,585 crore,Dhindsa said,adding that the debt to GSDP ratio will be 29.91 per cent against the target of 41.80 per cent fixed by the 13th Finance Commission.

He said the average debt to GSDP ratio during the 10th plan 2002-07 was 44.04 per cent whereas it would be 31.98 per cent during the 11th plan 2007-12. “There is considerable

improvement of debt for GSDP ratio during the last five years of the SAD-BJP alliance government,” Dhindsa said.

He said the fiscal deficit of the state during 2011-12 is 3.39 per cent of GSDP against the target of 3.5 per cent fixed by the 13th Financial Commission.

The average fiscal deficit as percentage of GSDP during the five years of this government during 2007-12 is expected to be 3.29 per cent against the average fiscal deficit of 4.18 per cent during the period 2002-7.

The total revenue of the state during 2011-12 is likely to be Rs 20408 crore against Rs 16828 crore in 2010-11,he said adding that the tax revenues of the state had more than doubled from Rs 9017 crore in 2006-07 to Rs 20,408 crore in 2011-12.

The average growth in tax revenues during the previous five years of 2002-07 was 13.77 per cent whereas during five years of this government it is expected to be 18.29 per cent.

The GSDP during 2011-12 is projected to be Rs 2,59,424 crore,he said adding that the GSDP during 2006-07 was Rs 1,27,123 crore which had more than doubled during the last five years.

He said that the growth during the 11th plan 2007-12 is 6.87 per cent against the target of 5.90 per cent fixed by the Planning Commission. The rate of economic growth for the country has been 7.95 per cent while the growth rate of the state was now closer to the national growth rate.

He said that the actual average capital expenditure has increased from Rs 1189 crore in 2002-07 to Rs 3000 crore in 2007-12.

He said that the pay commission recommendations have been implemented with retrospective effect from January one,2006 and 67 per cent arrears to pensoners and 40 per cent arrears to employees have been paid.

Dhindsa said that the Pay Commission recommendations have put an extra financial burden of Rs 3,000 crore per year and Rs 7,200 crore on account of arrears during the 2010-11 to 2013-14.

The grant of benefits over and above the Pay Commission recommendations have put an additional burden of Rs 1,500 crore per year.

He said that the subsidy bill has gone up from mere Rs 1,427 crore in year 2006-07 to about Rs 4,200 crore in 2011-12 and likely to increase further to Rs 6,000 crore in the year 2012-13.

Dhindsa said the bills pending for payments with the state’s treasuries were of Rs 1,000 crore and out of this Rs 700 to Rs 800 crore would be cleared by March 31.

However,Congress Legislature Party leader Sunil Kumar Jakhra asked that why the state government left Rs 360 crore on account of payment of pensions and Shaghun schemes.

While congratulating Dhindsa on his appointment as Finance Minister,Jakhar said that “the present government should work on ground on facts rather than making tall assurances.”

Later the assembly passed the Punjab Panchayat Raj (amendment) bill,2012 without discussion with opposition accusing the state government of providing it the copies of legislative business at the last minute.

As per the bill the election to the gram panchayats in 2013 will be held under the amended provisions.

“It has been decided that election of sarpanches in future shall be held directly from amongst the voters (members of gram sabha) as the present system of indirect election has resulted in factionalism of village level and has effected the development works adversely,” the bill moved by Minister for Rural Development and Panchayat Surjit Singh Rakhra said.

The house was later adjourned sine die by Speaker Charanjit Singh Atwal.

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