Following chief minister Parkash Singh Badal and finance minister Parminder Singh Dhindsa airing "diametrically opposite views" on the impact of the 14th finance commission recommendations' on the state, People's Party of Punjab (PPP) chief Manpreet Singh Badal on Saturday demanded that the state government must come out with a white paper to tell the people the truth.
"Badal was all praise for Prime Minister Narendra Modi from the Hola Mohalla stage at Anandpur Sahib on Thursday, saying it had never been so good for Punjab as now with the share in central taxes having been increased from 32% to 42%. He had gone to the extent of claiming that the Punjab's stand on financial autonomy stood vindicated. However, the same day, Dhindsa presented a dismal picture in Chandigarh saying they were not happy," the PPP chief said in a press statement.
"These are two contrary views on the issue and this has confused the people. The state government must clarify the situation as the budget session is about to commence," he added.
The former finance minister pointed out that the hike in the state's share was just one aspect of the finance commission's recommendations. Punjab had been delisted from the category of three most debt-stressed states while adding nine more in accordance with the new criteria, and this had dashed all hopes of the Centre coming to the rescue, he added.
He said yet another aspect was the funding pattern of several schemes for which the
funds earlier used to be provided by the centre; now, some of these schemes would have to be financed by the state governments.
He referred to Dhindsa's observation that Punjab would get "nil net profit even from the near 10% hike in devolution of funds from the Centre to the state" and that it was not going to benefit the state.
Manpreet said the state government had failed to convince the finance commission that a uniform formula could not be applied to all the states.
"How come Badal is all praise for the new formula, while his finance minister has presented a gloomy picture," he asked.