Chandigarh: Punjab budget tabled in the Assembly today came under attack from opposition Congress and Aam Aadmi Party, which described it as the “worst ever” budget which will “add to the agonies” of the people. Punjab Congress chief Partap Singh Bajwa termed the budget proposals as the “worst ever” in the democratic history of the state.
In a statement, Bajwa said Dhindsa (Finance minister) had made a desperate attempt to just sail through without promising any new schemes while admitting that the state was bankrupt. “It is an exercise in futility,” he added. Congress Deputy Leader in Lok Sabha Amarinder Singh criticised the Punjab budget saying “the only recurring theme of the budget is debt and deficit both of which are multiplying at an alarming proportion”.
“With the state debt mounting to a humungous figure of Rs 1.25 lakh crore and revenue deficit crossing Rs 6,000 crore one can hardly expect anything else from this budget,” he remarked. Punjab’s AAP convener Sucha Singh Chhotepur said, “This kind of budget will not make any sector of society happy, rather it will add to the agonies of Punjabis.”
AAP won four parliamentary seats from the state. Reacting to the budget, Amarinder said that it was the most “uninspiring” budget with no hope or scope of any redemption and the state government appears to have resigned to the fait accompli by not attempting any remedial measures to redeem the situation.
“But, I really don’t blame the young Finance Minister as it is actually Chief Minister Parkash Singh Badal who has presided over the economic and financial mess and decline that a helpless minister was forced to document and narrate in the Vidhan Sabha today,” he remarked. The former Chief Minister questioned the sincerity of the government in making budget proposals when the state was “virtually bankrupt” with so much debt and deficit. “Where are the resources for the alluring promises you have made in the budget?” he asked.
Taking a dig at the Finance Minister’s claims about “the success made by the state in achieving fiscal consolidation,” Amarinder taunted the government saying, “people of Punjab must indeed be so much pleased at the outstanding achievement of this government that the debt-GDP ratio has come down to 32 per cent”.