First cabinet meet on March 18: FM Manpreet Badal now favours subsidy | punjab$chandigarh | Hindustan Times
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First cabinet meet on March 18: FM Manpreet Badal now favours subsidy

Keeping the swearing-in ceremony a low-key, the new Capt Amarinder Singh-led Congress government had given the message of austerity. But there are many paradoxes.

punjab Updated: Mar 23, 2017 09:27 IST
Sukhdeep Kaur
New finance minister Manpreet Badal, who took charge of his office on Thursday, said the state’s liabilities under the SAD-BJP government had spiralled to Rs 1.75 lakh crore, including Rs 6,200 crore free power to farmers and Rs 31,000 crore outstanding dues of food procurement.
New finance minister Manpreet Badal, who took charge of his office on Thursday, said the state’s liabilities under the SAD-BJP government had spiralled to Rs 1.75 lakh crore, including Rs 6,200 crore free power to farmers and Rs 31,000 crore outstanding dues of food procurement.(HT Photo)

Keeping the swearing-in ceremony a low-key, the new Capt Amarinder Singh-led Congress government had given the message of austerity. But there are many paradoxes.

The manifesto of the party, which will come up for discussion in the first cabinet meeting on Saturday, has promised several sops — from smart phones to jobs.

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New finance minister Manpreet Badal, who took charge of his office on Thursday, said the state’s liabilities under the SAD-BJP government had spiralled to Rs 1.75 lakh crore, including Rs 6,200 crore free power to farmers and Rs 31,000 crore outstanding dues of food procurement.

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But the estranged nephew of former CM Parkash Singh Badal, who had revolted against his party and government over subsidies in his first stint as finance minister, said subsidies would continue.

Also read |In office, Punjab’s new ministers promise to keep promises

He said the government was committed to ending VIP culture but pegged the expenditure on VIP security, including cops, vehicles and fuel, to Rs 300 crore. His department is likely to give a detailed presentation on the fiscal condition of the state in the meeting. “The finance department’s agenda in the cabinet would include economic, governance and police reforms,” he said. The government will bring a vote on account for three months and the budget will be presented in May.

The main agenda of the cabinet meeting will be the party’s poll manifesto, including forming a special task force to eradicate drugs, employment generation and a bringing a white paper on power tariffs. The new excise policy of the state will also come up in the cabinet’s first meeting on Saturday along with the food procurement policy in view of the upcoming paddy season.

The Amarinder government got down to business on the second day with many ministers taking charge, including Brahm Mohindra, Manpreet, Navjot Singh Sidhu, Sadhu Singh Dharamsot and Razia Sultana.

The main agenda of the cabinet meeting will be the party’s poll manifesto, including forming a special task force to eradicate drugs, employment generation and setting up a committee to study debt of farmers in Punjab. The new excise policy of the state will also come up in the cabinet’s first meeting on Saturday along with the food procurement policy in view of the upcoming paddy season.

The Amarinder government got down to business on the second day with many ministers taking charge.