Chandigarh, March 2, 2020 (Yes Punjab News)
Former minister Bikram Singh Majithia today said the surplus budget claim of the Congress government was a lie with the State’s own income reducing by Rs 5,450 crore even as he asserted that not one rupee had been released for 148 schemes and that State debt had increased by Rs 66,000 crore in three years.
Participating in the debate on the budget, Shiromani Akali Dal (SAD) leader Bikram Majithia exposed the hollow claims of finance minister Manpreet Badal one by one. He also proved that the FM had not only misled the assembly but had also lied to the people by claiming that he was presenting a revenue surplus budget.
He also detailed how the Congress government had failed to fulfill any of the promises made to the people and how it had come out with a patchwork job by listing the same announcements which had not been implemented last year also. “Window dressing done on a bad budget is akin to putting lipstick on a pig.
The budget only raises false hopes and is a web of deceit. Everyone has been betrayed be it farmers, youth, Dalits or even SC students with no provision being kept for their scholarship grant”.
Giving details, the SAD leader said the FM had claimed that numbers did not lie. He said as per budget estimates numbers the State had suffered a loss of Rs 4,000 crore in own tax revenues with a loss of Rs 951 crore in VAT, Rs 525 crore in State excise, Rs 250 crore in stamp duty and Rs 345 crore in vehicle registration taxes.
Mr Majithia said similarly the State had also suffered a loss of Rs 1515 crore in State own non tax revenue taking the entire loss as per budgetary estimates to Rs 5450 crore.
Speaking about the manner in which the poor and underprivileged had been betrayed, Mr Majithia said it betrayed a sense of thoughtlessness, escapism and arrogance. He said as much as Rs 9,000 crore which was to be released on account of 148 schemes was withheld. “The FM has increased State debt by Rs 66,000 crore in three years and it is likely to go up by Rs one lakh crore by the end of this government’s tenure”.
He said calling the budget surplus was also a lie as State income had reduced. He said this had been achieved by jugglery of figures and simply leaving out money due to the State electricity utility and government employees as well as pending bills in treasury.
He said this figure alone was Rs 18,000 crore including Rs 10,000 crore electricity subsidy and pending bills which were to be paid to the electricity utility as well as Rs 8,500 crore on account of Dearness Allowance and other dues which were to be paid to government employees.
Stating that the FM had treated every section of society with contempt in the last budget, Mr Majithia said out of the Rs 20,000 crore developmental planned expenditure only Rs 8,000 crore had been issued. He said simultaneously in the big blow to development, the capital expenditure for this year had been reduced to Rs 10,000 crore from Rs 19,000 crore last year.
He said the finance minister had not even spared chief minister Capt Amarinder Singh with money promised for the Patiala Heritage Festival and upgradation of the Patiala Medical and Ayurvedic colleges not being released. “As much as Rs 25 crore was released for the 500th Parkash Purb but only Rs 5 crore was released”, he added while asserting that there was a huge difference between budget estimates and revised estimates.
Mr Majithia also gave a detailed break-down of the money which was due to Punjabis as per the election manifesto promises of the Congress government but never given. He said as per government records there were 11 lakh unemployed youth in the State who should have been given Rs 9,900 crore in the last three years on account of Rs 2,500 per month unemployment allowance.
He said similarly the government owed 24 lakh old aged pensioners Rs 10,800 crore as per the Rs 2,500 per month pension promise. He said Shagun scheme beneficiaries were not given Rs 7,560 crore as per Rs 51,000 shagun promised to them.
The government even cheated 2,000 farm suicide victim families of Rs 250 crore by not giving them Rs 10 lakh compensation, government job and waiving off their pending loans. He said in all Rs 1.13 lakh crore was due under these heads in the last three years.
The SAD leader said the FM was also trying to mislead the people by claiming that 2020-21 will witness a 19 per cent growth. He said this was being claimed on the basis of increased share in taxes expected from the Union government.
He said the only achievement of the Congress government was increasing electricity duty collection from the estimated figure of Rs 2,711 crore to Rs 4,476 crore by increasing power tariff relentlessly.