Chandigarh, March 10, 2021 (Yes Punjab News)
The Shiromani Akali Dal (SAD) legislative wing today moved a privilege motion against finance minister Manpreet Singh Badal, asserting privilege proceedings should be initiated against the latter for fudging budget figures and cheating Punjabis by making provisions under various heads in successive budgets but not releasing the funds for the same.
The privilege motion, which was submitted to the Speaker early today morning, also accused the finance minister of lying on the floor of the House and demanded due action be taken against him.
The SAD legislators led by the legislative wing leader Sharanjit Singh Dhillon and Bikram Singh Majithia said the FM had fudged figures to the tune of Rs 69,676 crore in the budget by inflating the State GSDP. They said the GSDP for 2019-20 was Rs 5.74 lakh crore and it fell by 6.4 per cent in 2020-21 due to Covid pandemic by the State’s own estimates on page nine of Budget at a Glance document. “This should have made the GSDP 5.37 lakh crore in 2020-21 but the FM had fudged figures to show a GSDP of Rs 6.07 lakh crore for 2020-21”.
The privilege motion also pointed out that Mr Manpreet Badal had misled the House vis a vis Rs 8,359 crore loan taken by the State by not taking in into account in the 2020-21 estimates. They said if this was taken into account the State debt for 2020-21 would become Rs 2.61 lakh crore and not Rs 2.52 lakh crore as stated in the budget and the same would rise to Rs 2.73 lakh crore in 2021-22. “All this will also result in an increase in the debt to GSDP ratio to 48 per cent in 2021-22 and not 45 per cent as projected by the government”.
The legislators said the finance minister had also cheated every section of society. They said provisions had been kept for giving farm loan relief of Rs 3,000 crore in 2019-20 and Rs 2000 crore in 2020-21 but the same was not released. “Similarly the finance minister kept a provision of Rs 600 crore for award of Post Matric Scholarship to SC students in each of the last four budgets.
However not one rupee from the Rs 2,400 crore allocated for SC students was released. The FM has similarly allocated Rs 800 crore for border development in the last four years with Rs 300 crore being allocated in 2017-18, Rs 300 crore in 2018-19, Rs 100 crore in 2019-20 and Rs 100 crore in 2020-21.
Not a single rupee was released. Similarly Rs 100 crore allocated for Kandi Area development in 2020-21 was also not released”.
Mr Dhillon and Mr Majithia said the FM should also be held accountable for making announcements he had no intention of keeping. They said the FM had announced five Medical Colleges at Mohali, Gurdaspur, Pathankot, Sangrur and Malerkotla in repeated budgets but nothing had been done on the ground.
“The Guru Tegh Bahadur Law University had been opened in a government school in Tarn Taran. The Guru Gobind Singh Skilled University announced in 2018-19 and the Bebe Nanki Girls College has not come up while the Jagat Guru GND Open University has been opened in a single room.
The iconic Sports College promised by the FM, Centre for Punjabi Languages at Talwandi Sabo and schemes like Yaari Enterprises and Hara Tractor have not fructified. Even announcements made for Chairs in the name of Baba Budha Sahib, Satguru Ram Singh and Sant Prem Singh Murarawala remain on paper only”
The legislators said similarly from giving Ghar Ghar Rozgar, the goal post had been shifted to create a Punjab Ghar Ghar Rozgar and Karobar Mission digital portal. They said same was the case with the promise of Houses for the Houseless made by the FM. “Last year the FM allocated Rs 500 crore for the Pendu Awar Yojna but did not release this amount. Now it has again shifted the goal post by coining a new scheme called Har Ghar Pakki Chhat”.
The motion said similarly Dearness Allowance arrears of nearly Rs 4,000 crore of government employees had not been released even as the industrial sector was not given power at the promised landed cost of Rs five per unit.