Union minister of state for finance Jayant Sinha on Tuesday said Punjab did not require a special financial package as it had already been categorised as a prosperous state.
This is the second time that a central minister has ruled out any special financial assistance to Punjab after Union finance minister Arun Jaitley rejected the demand in writing in September last year.
Sinha, who was here to address a press conference regarding the achievements of the one-year-old NDA government, said Punjab was not categorised as a revenue-deficit state as per various parameters taken into consideration by the Centre, hence there was no such proposal for it being considered for a special financial package.
Sinha, who was accompanied by Chandigarh MP Kirron Kher, said since the 14th Finance Commission had already enhanced the state share of money from the central pool to 42% from 32%, so all states were likely to gain in terms of revenue.
Replying to a question that Punjab chief minister Parkash Singh Badal had high hopes from the Narendra Modi government and even expected 'truckloads' of money from the Centre once the BJP came to power, Sinha said the Shiromani Akali Dal (SAD) was a valued and long-term political ally of the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) and the Union government was already aware of Punjab's financial status.
When told that Punjab was also being at disadvantage after the central government gave tax concessions to its neighbouring hill states, Sinha claimed that these benefits would soon see the sunset. However he failed to give a time frame by when these tax benefits to the hill states would be withdrawn by the centre.
On the issue of making the names of the Indians having accounts in Swiss bank public Sinha, said the BJP government would not be able to make the names public."We have to act responsibly," Sinha said.
Sinha, when reminded of BJP's poll promises during the run up to the General elections on the pertinent issue, denied having done so.
"We never promised to share the names. Rather you should be happy the way Government has been trying to curb the black money. We immediately brought a legislation to stop transactions above Rs 20000 in cash. Our Prime Minister has taken many initiatives in this direction."
"Our major achievement has been the restoring of macro-economic fiscal stability and reviving the investor confidence in India. When we took over a year ago, confidence in the India growth story was at its lowest ebb, inflation was at 8-10 % for many years, fiscal deficit was very high at 4-5 %, and indecisiveness on the part of the government kept the investors away from India", said Sinha.