Punjab’s Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) government which presented its maiden budget of about Rs 1.55 lakh crore on Monday, had no new taxes imposed and focussed on the agriculture, education and health sectors.
Since the budget did not have any provisions or announcements for implementing AAP’s promise of an Rs. 1,000 allowance for each woman over 18 years of age, Finance Minister Harpal Cheema held an announcement saying it would soon come. He, however, reiterated its commitment to provide monthly 300 units of free power to all from July 1.
The AAP government in Punjab proposed in its budget to earn about Rs 95.378 thousand crore this financial year against an expenditure of about Rs 1.55 lakh crore.
Even though no new taxes have been announced and the revenue receipts are projected to increase by almost Rs 14,000 crore over 2021-22, Cheema held that the revenue increase would be through the new excise policy, which would yield the state a revenue increase of 56 per cent. Likewise, he said, the GST collection would get the state an increased revenue of 27 per cent over the last financial year.
The finance minister also announced plans to fill 24,400 posts in the government sector and the regularisation of jobs for 36,000 contractual employees.
He said that, in this budget, four of the five guarantees given by AAP before the elections three months ago, had been fulfilled. These, he said, "were regarding improving health infrastructure, education infrastructure, 300 units of free power and enhancing compensation given to families of martyred soldiers."
The maiden budget by the Mann government had allotted Rs 11,560 crores for the agriculture sector, of which Rs 200 crore would be allotted to resolve the issue of stubble burning, a problem for the northern states including the national capital region (NCR) every winter season.
The state government promised in this budget to set up 16 medical colleges in the state in the next five years, which Cheema held would bring up the total number of colleges to 25.
Cheema further said that the AAP government proposed to set up Mohalla/Pind (meaning locality or village level) clinics in order to decentralise the public health services to the lowest level.
"This year, the government plans to establish 117 Mohalla clinics, for which an initial allocation of Rs 77 crore was proposed. As many as 75 of these clinics would be operational by August 15," he said.
He added that the road accident victims would be provided help by the state government in a scheme that is already operational in Delhi. The victims of road accidents would be given free treatment and the entire cost would be borne by the government.