An industrial package “on par and on the lines” of the one given to the neighbouring hill states tops the priority of the Punjab government from the maiden budget union finance minister Arun Jaitley will present on Thursday, according to state finance minister Parminder Singh Dhindsa.
“We have a watertight case for industrial incentives. We should be given benefits and incentives, which the Centre has extended to hill states for the promotion of industry,” Dhindsa, who is set to present the state budget on July 16, told Hindustan Times.
“Primarily, Himachal Pradesh has gained at the expense of Punjab after getting the industrial package and the border state has been the biggest sufferer. The per capita income of the hill state is higher than Punjab due to these incentives. We want the Centre to inject some corrective measures.”
The Parkash Singh Badal regime is also seeking from the union government refund of about Rs. 2,000 crore, which the state government had paid in the form of interest/principal amount of the loan the Centre had given to fight terrorism. “Before this loan was written off by the Centre, the state government had already paid about Rs. 2,000 crore. This amount should be refunded,” Dhindsa said.
Another major issue of the wishlist of Punjab, Dhindsa said, was the extension of the Mumbai-Delhi industrial corridor up to Amritsar. Besides, he said, to help and encourage people save and invest more the Centre should also increase the limits of savings and income tax exemptions.