Punjab Finance Minister Harpal Cheema Presents ₹2.04L Crore Budget For 2024-25

Punjab Finance Minister Harpal Cheema Presents ₹2.04L Crore Budget For 2024-25

The budget had a focus on education, health, sports and infrastructure.

Rajesh MoudgilUpdated: Tuesday, March 05, 2024, 08:29 PM IST
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Punjab Finance Minister Harpal Cheema |

Chandigarh: Punjab Finance Minister Harpal Cheema on Tuesday presented a Rs 2.04 lakh crore budget for the financial year 2024-25.

While this is the third budget of the ruling Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) government in the state, the government yet again failed to announce the financial assistance of monthly Rs 1,000 for women above 18 years of age – one of the key promises made ahead of 2022 polls by AAP.

The finance minister said that while no new taxes had been imposed, the state government hoped to have a revenue receipts of about Rs 1.03 lakh crore this fiscal of which own tax revenue would be for about Rs 58,900 crore. He said that the state would also get about Rs 22,000 crore as its share from the Central taxes and about Rs 11,000 crore as grants in aid from Centre.

The budget had a focus on education, health, sports and infrastructure. The finance minister said that over Rs 13.7K crore had been earmarked for the agriculture sector and over Rs 16.9K crore for the education sector.

Elaborating on the agriculture sector, Cheema said that the government proposed a Malwa canal project which aimed to reduce reliance on groundwater by optimising Punjab's share of Beas-Sutlej river water.

Elaborating on the education sector, he said that 118 more government schools would be upgraded as ``school of eminence’’, besides, 100 more government schools would be upgraded as ``schools of brilliance’’ and 100 primary schools into ``schools of happiness’’.

On health sector provisions, the finance minister held that while 829 AAP clinics had already been set up many more would come up this fiscal year.

Disappointing, says opposition

However, reacting to the state’s budget, Amarinder Singh Raja Warring, the president of the state Congress, the main opposition party, held that the set of figures read out by the finance minister had nothing concrete for farmers, women, youth and industry.

He asked, "Where is the budget for farmers to address all their demands which the CM has himself so many times said that he will fulfil? What about the allocation of Rs 1,000 which was announced for women by this government? Also, there was no mention of an increase in the pension of elderly people who are fully dependent on this sum." Warring further blamed the government for piling on Rs 62,000 crore of debt on the state of Punjab in just two years.

The state BJP president Sunil Jakhar said that the AAP government had once again failed to address concerns of farmers on much-needed issues of crop diversification, ground water conservation and income support. Coming down heavily on the AAP government for pushing Punjab towards financial calamity, Jakhar said a budget of 2 lakh crore with an overall debt inching towards 4 lakh crore tells you of the kind of future this government had envisioned for Punjabis.

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