Health and education focus on AAP-led Punjab government’s first budget


Punjab Finance Minister Harpal Singh Cheema presented the government’s first AAP budget for FY23 on Monday to the state assembly and announced that the focus for the first year will be to restore the deteriorating fiscal health, keeping promises of good governance and focusing on health, agriculture and education.

The AAP government is fulfilling its first guarantee (promise) made to the people of Punjab by providing 300 units of household power supply per month free of charge to all citizens from July 1, Mr. Cheema said.

Presenting the first budget of the Bhagwant Mann government after the AAP came to power in March this year, Mr Cheema said the government had proposed to launch the Punjab Young Entrepreneur scheme to encourage students in class 11 to pitch their business ideas.

The state government will provide seed capital of Rs 2,000 per student under the scheme, the finance minister said during the presentation of the paperless budget.

Mr. Cheema also announced that the government will set up 16 new medical schools over five years.

The government will also establish 117 “Mohalla Clinics”, for which Rs 77 crore has been earmarked.

In the first year, the focus will be on restoring deteriorating fiscal health, delivering on promises of good governance by ensuring effective use of public funds, and on health and education, a said the minister.

“I propose a budget outlay of Rs 1,55,860 crore for 2022-23, which reflects a growth of 14.20% from 2021-22,” he said.

The government has decided to approve the new recruitment of 26,454 people and the regularization of 36,000 contractual employees, he said.

The AAP government is committed to supporting farmers and will continue to provide free electricity to the agricultural sector, he added.

Referring to the state finance white paper, which was presented to the state assembly on Saturday, he said the document made it clear that Punjab had suffered decades of fiscal recklessness.

The current effective debt stock of Punjab stands at Rs 2.63 lakh crore, the minister informed.

He said the state government will this year release the Guidelines for Gender Responsive Budgeting, setting out the strategy to promote the goal of gender equality and inclusion to bring about social transformation and eliminate inequalities. .

The government has identified 100 existing schools which it is proposed to transform into “eminent schools”. Rs 200 crore has been earmarked for this purpose.

Modern digital classrooms will be installed in 500 public schools.

On the issue of stubble burning, Cheema said various possibilities and solutions will be explored and for this Rs 200 crore has been earmarked in the budget.

At the start of his speech, Cheema said that several measures are being taken to bring fiscal prudence and efficiency in the management of finances.

He also said that the AAP government will put in place a model of good governance.

“Our government has zero tolerance towards corruption… The birth of our party began with the anti-corruption movement,” he said, adding that the government acts against those who engage in corrupt practices. .

The finance minister said the Janta budget (people’s budget), which was prepared after receiving 20,384 suggestions on the government portal and email, will focus on various areas including health and education.

The GST compensation scheme is expected to end in June 2022, and based on trends from previous years, the state government would be looking at a big hole left in its finances to the tune of Rs 14,000-15,000 crore over the course of of the 2022-23 financial year, in accordance with the budget document.

No new taxes were proposed in the budget.

The budget also includes provisions for the introduction of fiscal risk management.

Delhi Deputy Chief Minister Manish Sisodia was among those present in the Punjab Vidhan Sabha Visitors Gallery.

(This story has not been edited by NDTV staff and is auto-generated from a syndicated feed.)

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