Punjab finance minister Parminder Singh Dhindsa on Wednesday said his endeavour would be to cut down unproductive expenditure and ensure better tax administration and compliance to cover the revenue deficit.
In his post-budget press conference, the finance minister said the state had improved fiscal parameters. "We have brought down the committed expenditure, while controlling revenue and fiscal deficit," he said. "It's a growth-oriented budget."
According to the minister, higher growth rate, reduced fiscal deficit and a major across-the-board package of relief and incentives to all sections of society from women, children, youth and the elderly and the poor, including the homeless and enhanced national and international connectivity were some of the highlights of the Punjab budget.
He said the state achieved the target of 6.73%, which exceeded the target of 5.9% for economic growth in the 11th Plan, while the national economy grew at 5% in 2012-13.
The debt to GDP (gross domestic product) ratio was brought down from 44.04% during the 10th Plan (2002-07) to 32.11% during the 11th Plan period (2007-12).
He said the state had successfully achieved the fiscal target of 3.28% against the national average fiscal deficit of 5.7% of GDP. Target of 3.50% was laid down by 13th Finance Commission, he added.
He said under the "leadership of deputy chief minister Sukhbir Singh Badal," the collection of value-added tax (VAT) had gone up by Rs. 14,900 crore in 2012-13, while in 2013-14 it would be more than Rs. 20,000 crore.
In its war against cancer, he said, the Punjab government had decided to provide state-of-the-art treatment for cancer patients in all three medical colleges Amritsar, Patiala and Faridkot. Rs. 300-crore fund is being created for this purpose, he added.