Parkash Singh Badal dubs budget as pro-people
Terming the Union Budget as "visionary and pro-people", Punjab government on Saturday expressed gratitude to Union Finance Minister Arun Jaitley for announcing projects like AIIMS, horticulture research institute for the state even as Congress said there was nothing in it for the people.
Chandigarh: Terming the Union Budget as "visionary and pro-people", Punjab government on Saturday expressed gratitude to Union Finance Minister Arun Jaitley for announcing projects like AIIMS, horticulture research institute for the state even as Congress said there was nothing in it for the people.
"It is in furtherance of the agenda of NDA to make Punjab a leading state by ending a long spell of discrimination with the state during the misrule of the previous UPA government," Punjab Chief Minister Parkash Singh Badal said while pointing out the projects announced for the state in the Budget.
In a statement, Badal said the "gifts" given by the NDA government were a testimony of their commitment to make Punjab as a frontrunner state in the country.
He said the key projects allocated by Union Finance Minister to the state in the budget would boost the economic development of the state.
Lauding the announcement of setting up AIIMS in the state, Badal said it would help in imparting world class health infrastructure and services to the people of the state.
He said the state government has been pressing the Union government for this ambitious project and by allocating AIIMS to the state, Jaitley has given a much awaited gift to it.
Hailing "pro-farmers" decision in budget, the Chief Minister said the fresh target of giving Rs 8.5 lakh crore credit to farmers would help in mitigating the woes of the peasantry, which had suffered a lot due to the regressive and anti-farmer policies of the UPA government.
"This decision of the Union Finance Minister will give a fresh lease of life to the farming community, besides helping them to overcome the current agrarian crisis," he said.
Lauding the Union Minister for earmarking Rs 5,600 crore for micro irrigation purposes, Badal said it would be beneficial for the state as its water table was depleting with each passing day.
Badal also thanked Jaitley for announcing Post Graduate Institute of Horticulture Research in Amritsar, saying it would boost the prospects of ongoing efforts under agriculture diversification in the state.
Badal said that promotion of allied farming activities like Horticulture were the need of the hour as agriculture was no longer a profitable venture.
The Chief Minister also thanked Jaitley for including Jallianwala Bagh Memorial, Amritsar, in the list of World Heritage project and termed that it was a real tribute to countless martyrs who had sacrificed their lives during the freedom struggle.
Punjab Deputy Chief Minister Sukhbir Singh Badal also described the Union Budget "pro-development", which would boost economic growth.
In a statement here, Sukhbir also praised the Union Finance Minister for putting the focus back on agriculture and the social services sector.
Referring to proposed Micro Units Development Refinance Agency (MUDRA) Bank, with a corpus of Rs 20,000 crore, Badal said priority would be given to SC/ST enterprises in lending.
He said this corpus would boost Punjab's economy as the state had the highest SC population across the nation. Badal also welcomed the decision to give visa on arrival to citizens of 150 countries in stages.
He said the new visa regime would facilitate thousands of Punjabis residing in various countries, besides giving a much needed boost to the tourism sector.
Meanwhile, Congress leader and Amritsar MP Amarinder Singh said there was nothing in the budget for common man to cheer about.
"There has not even been some token relief for the working middle classes as the income tax slabs remain unchanged," he pointed out.
"If you provide some relief to the poor and the middle classes, it is termed populist and if you provide much more relief to the corporate and business houses it is claimed to be pragmatic," he remarked, adding, "this budget is as populist as any other budget but the difference is that it is populist for the big corporates at the cost of the common man".
Amarinder noted that this budget has provided substantial relief to the corporates by reducing the corporate tax by five per cent while no such relief has been given to the common and ordinary tax player.
The former Punjab Chief Minister also questioned the "double talk" of BJP government on the MNREGA.
He recalled that only the other day Prime Minister Narendra Modi criticised MNREGA terming it a bad policy of Congress, and today his FM Arun Jaitley has allocated Rs 5,000 crore for the same saying he could provide more if he had more resources.