Pramod Kumar, chairman, Punjab Governance Reforms Commission, on Thursday advised state finance minister Parminder Singh Dhindsa that the state government should seek share in the revenue generated from the union territory of Chandigarh instead of seeking the financial package from the Centre.
“Nobody will give you the financial package,” he said, adding that one of the reasons behind the sluggish revenue growth of Punjab was that the state did not have a capital. “Punjab must stake claim on the revenue generated from Chandigarh,” he added.
He was speaking at the annual session, ‘Reviving Growth Momentum in Punjab’, organised by the Confederation of Indian Industry (CII), Chandigarh.
On this occasion, former Ludhiana MP Manish Tewari said, “If you want services, pay for it.” That’s the prescription the senior Congress leader gave for mobilising resources in Punjab and providing basic amenities to the people. Tewari also advocated the need for “biting the bullet”.
As power subsidy to the farm sector dominated the panel discussion attended by industrialists from across the state, the Congress leader referred to the political compulsions of power subsidy. He recalled how the then Congress government in Punjab had to resume the free power after a drubbing in the Lok Sabha elections.
“Tax base in Punjab is narrow and the tax compliance is lethargic. Municipal corporations are fund-starved. We must live within our means,” Tewari said underlining the need that Punjab should come out of the denial mode and accept reality.
Sunil Kant Munjal, chairman, Hero Corporate Service Limited, said Punjab should do away with power subsidy to farmers as it led to a lot of wastage. He said Punjab should also consider tax rationalisation and that VAT is being charged heavily here, which is a huge discouragement to the industry. The VAT, he said, should rather be lower than that of other states.