Punjab finance minister Parminder Singh Dhindsa on Thursday expressed the state’s rhetoric disappointment over not getting a special industrial package on par with the hill states in the first union budget proposals of the Narendra Modi government.
He still joined chief minister Parkash Singh Badal in giving good marks overall to union finance minister Arun Jaitley, who proposed an Indian Institute of Management (IIM) and an agri-biotechnology centre for the state, where the ruling Akali-BJP coalition was always pleading with the previous United Progressive Alliance (UPA) governments for industrial incentives to be able to compete with neighbours Himachal Pradesh, Jammu and Kashmir, and Uttarakhand, which enjoy the assistance.
The state’s another long-pending demand is about adopting Dr S Swaminathan formula for fixing the minimum support price (MSP) of food grains, on which Thursday’s union budget remained silent. Punjab’s pursues Centre’s focus on crop diversification more aggressively, yet its Congress-ruled neighbour, Haryana, along with newborn Telangana, has received a horticulture university.
In a statement issued here on Thursday, the CM welcomed the NDA government’s “pro-farmer initiatives in the country” in its first budget, saying Jaitley’s proposals were “progressive, development-oriented, and common-man-friendly”.
“The IIM in Punjab will give impetus to higher education in the state,” said Badal, welcoming the commitment to sustain 4% growth in the agriculture sector, besides Pradhan Mantri Krishi Sinchayee Yojana (Prime Minister’s irrigation for agriculture scheme), and `50-crore each for indigenous cattle breeding and fisheries.
“The budget will strengthen rural electrification, human resource and infrastructure development, control on non-productive expenditure, and steps for the welfare of the weaker sections,” stated Badal.
Complimenting both Modi and Jaitley, he said that the budget would help the country to emerge from the financial mess that the previous UPA government had created. He also highlighted that the basic income-tax exemption limit had increased from `2 lakh to `2.5 lakh and the annual PPF deposit limit hiked from `1 lakh to `1.5 lakh. “The increase in the exemption on home loan interest, from `1.5 lakh to `2 lakh, will help the salaried class,” he said
The sad part
Punjab finance minister Parminder Singh Dhindsa, who found the budget “growth-oriented”, was the only legislator from the state’s ruling party to regret that it was silent on special economic package to the border state.
“The union finance minister has taken care of all sections, allocated `2.29 lakh crore to the defence sector, raised income tax exemption limit, conceived five new IIMs and an equal number of IITs, and made
`1,000-crore provision for ex-servicemen under the ‘one rank, one pension’ scheme,” he said.
What state didn’t get
Minimum support price (MSP) based on Dr Swaminathan formula
Tax exemption on dairy, fisheries to boost diversification
Special industrial package on a par with hill states
Incentives for food-processing units