Majithia holds FM responsible for fudging figures and increasing State’s debt
Chandigarh, March 9, 2021:
Shiromani Akali Dal (SAD) senior leader Bikramjit Singh Majithia today held finance minister Manpreet Singh Badal responsible for fudging figures, reducing spending on the social sector by as much as 50 percent and increasing the State’s debt by failing to increase its tax revenue.
Participating in the debate on the budget in the Vidhan Sabha, Majithia also accused the finance minister of lying on the floor of the house by inflating the State’s GSDP besides not including the Rs 8,359 crore loan taken by the State in its 2020-21 figures. He said the loan which had been excluded from the budget estimates would take Punjab’s debt to Rs 2.61 lakh crore and not Rs 2.52 lakh crore as stated in the budget.
Asserting that Punjab’s debt would double in the five-year tenure of the Congress government, which had also been revealed in the CAG report, Majithia said simultaneously debt to GSDP ratio to 48 per cent if the actual financial figures were taken into consideration.
The SAD leader added the budget had shown a fudged GSDP of Rs 6.06 lakh crore for 2020-21. He said this was apparent from the fact that the State’s GSDP in 2019-20 was Rs 5.74 lakh crore, and it fell by 6.4 percent by the State’s own estimates in 2020-21 due to the Covid pandemic. “How could the GSDP have risen when it was shown to have fallen as per the budget at a glance document of the State government?” he asked.
Exposing the government’s anti-poor and anti-Dalit face, he said Punjab had witnessed a fifty percent decrease in spending on the social sector from Rs 48,270 crore in 2016 during SAD tenure to Rs 24,896 crore in 2019-20. He said simultaneously as per the RBI, the State’s tax revenue had increased by only 11 percent compared to 26 percent in the case of Haryana, 49 percent in case of Rajasthan, 50 percent in case of Gujarat, and 44 percent in case of Orissa.
“The State seems to be surviving purely at the mercy of the central grants due to which it plays a fixed match with the centre on all issues,” said the SAD leader.
He also said the government had utilized only 66 percent of the capital expenditure that is Rs 6,821 crore in 2020-21, due to which there was virtually no infrastructure development in the State. “This is also the reason why the finance minister omitted to mention the per capita income figures in his budget speech this time because it has fallen below the national average for the first time in the history of the State.”
Majithia also allegedly exposed the government for making announcements of institutions and medical colleges without doing anything on the ground. He said the Guru Tegh Bahadur Law University had been opened in a government school in Tarn Taran. He said the Guru Gobind Singh Skilled University announced in 2018-19 had not come up till now. He said the same was the Bebe Nanki Girls College case, even as the Jagat Guru GND Open University had been opened in a single room.