For the second consecutive time, finance minister Arun Jaitley has been kind to the city that was cruel to him in his first Lok Sabha election.
Ever since the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) came to power, Amritsar has found something in his Union Budgets. In Saturday's speech, there was a postgraduate institute of horticulture research, besides heritage fund for the Jallianwala Bagh monument. Last year, it was an Indian Institute of Management (IIM) and selection among future smart cities.
For the IIM, the state government even set aside a land at Awaan village near Ajnala. In 2014, when Jaitley was up against Congress candidate Captain Amarinder Singh in the Lok Sabha election, he said he had a vision for the city. He lost the poll but not sight of that vision, it seems.
The announcement of horticulture institute has thrilled state deputy director of horticulture Baaz Singh, who sees it as a very positive step for Punjab as well. "We have been trying to get farmers out of the wheat-paddy cycle without much success. The institute will help us get them to switch to growing fruits and vegetables; and its research will improve the product varieties," he said in reaction to the Budget.
Amritsar was the best growing area for the fruits of subtropical temperate regions, said Sukhdev Singh, head of the Khalsa College agriculture department. "Peach, pear, plum, and even citrus fruit cultivation, besides floriculture, can be encouraged here," he claimed.
The money committed to Jallianwala Bagh was much needed for the upkeep of this important monument of the freedom movement from the point of view of tourism.