Punjab govt's populist budget woos farmers, employees


Almost a year ahead of the Assembly poll in Punjab, state Finance Minister Manpreet Badal on Monday tried to woo the farmers, women, elderly and government employees by presenting a populist but deficit Budget for the next fiscal.

Amid the ongoing farmers’ agitation against the three central farm laws, Badal presented the fifth and the last Budget of the Amarinder Singh-led Congress government at an outlay of Rs168,015 crore for 2021-22.

The total receipts are expected to be Rs 162,599 crore.

For the cash-strapped state, he announced to waive Rs1,186 crore of 1.13 lakh farmers and Rs526 crore of landless farmers in the next phase of the crop loan waiver scheme launched in 2021-22. As per the Budget speech, there will be a provision of Rs200 crore for crop diversification and Rs7,180 crore to go as free power subsidy for the farmers.

"This year Punjab contributed 27% of paddy and 32% of wheat to the central pool and the state paid Rs13,774 crore on account of servicing of the cash credit limit gap taken over by the previous SAD-BJP govt till March 2021,” he said.

Meanwhile, Speaker Rana KP Singh revoked the suspension of 10 SAD legislators. In the ongoing session, the Speaker said the legislators can partake in the discussion on the budget.

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