Capt. hits out at SAD-BJP for mortaging Punjab’s next generation through reckless borrowing & spendings


Chandigarh: Accusing the SAD-BJP combine of mortgaging the next generation of Punjab by indulging in reckless borrowings and spending shamelessly during their decade long tenure, Punjab Chief Minister Capt. Amarinder Singh on Tuesday said that had the previous regime not accepted a liability of Rs 31,000 crore on their last day in office, his government could have doubled pensions for the poor and disabled people and enhanced relief for the debt-ridden farmers and farm labourers of the state.

Blaming the previous regime for putting the state in an acute financial mess, the chief minister, while replying to the debate on the motion of thanks on the Governor’s address, said it was very unfortunate that the previous Government did not spare the people of Punjab, even when it demitted office in March last year. He revealed that on the last day of their government, the Akali-BJP combine had accepted a liability of Rs 31,000 crore on account of gap in Food Cash Credit Limit, thereby putting an additional burden of Rs. 3240 crore per year on the state and its people.

He said the previous regime was squarely responsible for the mismanagement of the food account and the arrears to be paid by Food Corporation of India, and the people of Punjab were being now penalized for it. “Thanks to the SAD-BJP Government’s actions, Punjab is today required to pay Rs. 3240 crore per year to the Government of India. They have mortgaged the future of our next generation”.

The chief minister said that it was ironical that every time it was left upon the Congress to correct the State’s finances, whereas the Akali-BJP brings it to a complete ruin. Admitting that the journey ahead was fraught with challenges, the Chief Minister said that if Punjab has to survive and stand up on its feet, his government will have to take decisions, which are in the long-term interest of the people.

He appealed to the people of Punjab to bear with his government for some time, as he was confident that his goal of putting the state back on the path of a high trajectory growth will be achieved soon. Expressing satisfaction that his government had initiated the process to put the state back on the path of fiscal correction, the chief minister informed the house that the resource gap had come down from over Rs 10000 crore during the previous year to about Rs. 4000 crore this year.

He said the state’s revenue receipts had increased by 22.85 per cent over the previous year, whereas the increase in expenditure had been contained at 14.45%. He said in the 2018-19 budget, there had been a hike in allocations for all major sectors – agriculture (39.25%), rural development (88.20%), industry (4 times), Health (12.5%), education (8%) percent and social welfare (6%).

The Chief Minister said GST had been successfully implemented in the state and after the transition period, the government hoped to tone up the tax administration to ensure greater tax compliance with minimum burden on trade and industry. He said the Department of Excise and Taxation had been restructured, segregating the commercial taxes from State Excise.

Referring to the Development Tax imposed by the State @ Rs.200 per month on income tax payees, the Chief Minister said that given the low tax/GDPO ratio, it was necessary for the state to garner some resources in order to meet its liabilities and to provide funds for development.  He, however, clarified that the amount of Development Tax was fully deductible from an individual’s income under the existing Income Tax laws.

The Chief Minister also informed the house that the government had decided to announce a voluntary disclosure scheme for all pending VAT and Sales Tax assessment cases. The scheme will provide a window of 60 days to all dealers whose assessments are pending to voluntarily disclose their tax liability and if they do so, their pending cases will be closed, he said.



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