The Punjab budget has evoked a mixed reaction from professionals, industrial houses and other organisations.
GADVASU ALL CHEERS
Guru Angad Dev Veterinary and Animal Sciences University (GADVASU) has received a grant of Rs 64 crore that brought cheers to the campus. PD Juyal, registrar, GADVASU, said, “It is a welcome step. However, had the finance minister allotted more funds, research and development could be improved. After all, GADVASU combines fisheries, dairy and veterinary sciences. It is also heartening to know that the state government has declared to promote fisheries by establishing a retail-cum-fish market, which will open soon in Ludhiana.”
INDUSTRY GIVES THUMBS DOWN
The local industry has severely criticised the state budget announced on Wednesday.
They said the state government had not been able to accommodate their wishes in the budget and that it had nothing for the industry.
Tax reforms, abolition of duty from electricity, abolition of external development charges, grant for industrial infrastructure, capital subsidy and freight subsidy were some of the demands that the industrialists were expecting to be fulfilled, but in vain.
Badish Jindal, national president, Federation of Associations of Small Industries of India (FASII), said most of the budget would be spent on unplanned expenditure which was 9.05% on power subsidy, 14.30% on interest payments, 33.71% on salaries and wages, 15.07% on revenue expenditure, 5.32% on repayment of loans.”
“Power subsidy budget to agriculture has increased from Rs 4,815 crore to Rs 5,300 crore from last year, which was uncalled for,” added Jindal.
Gurmeet Singh Kular, president, FICO, said, “The bicycle industry was expecting a relief in VAT as 90% of the goods are sold outside the state which attracts 2% central sales tax. Industrialists have to apply for 4.05% refund. Industry had requested to reduce the VAT to 2% so that no refund should be applied for.”
Sanjeev Bhandari, secretary, District Taxation Bar Association, said, “Nothing concrete has been ensured in terms of VAT refund. They could have formed a specific committee to carry out refunds in a systematic and timely manner.
Secondly, no major subsidy has been provided for small-scale industries.
Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) leader HS Phoolka criticised the budget for being aimless, directionless and debt-ridden.
Phoolka said the revenue deficit had increased by two and a half. “Last year the estimated deficit in the budget was Rs 1,746 crore, whereas, this year the deficit is estimated to be Rs 4,250 crore. Last year, the actual deficit increased three folds to Rs 5,259 crore and if this year, too, it increased by the same proportion then the deficit would go close to Rs 13,000 crore,” Phoolka added.
He said the state was facing a major drug addiction problem and cancer crisis but a meagre Rs 109 crore had been allotted for these purposes, which is insufficient.
He further said the budget did not provide any relief to the farming community and to the industry. Both were reeling under intense pressure from severe power crisis and lack of proper infrastructure.
The AAP leader said as far as employment was concerned, no measures had been suggested to generate employment for the youth.
The leader further said the budget had not focused on the food processing industry and diversification in the agricultural industry.
The industry was dying and the government had totally failed to bring any suitable plan for its revival.
‘NOTHING FOR THE COMMON MAN’
DP Maur, general secretary, Joint Council of Trade Unions said overall the budget was unsatisfactory.
There was nothing special for the common man and workers, he said, adding that this government had also failed to provide pending arrears to its employees.
Though the state government had resolved to fight against drug addiction, they were not taking any action against the drug menace, he added. The government had not taken steps to deal with the severe crisis of unemployment, Maur further said.
Harpreet Singh, manufacturer of bricks and tiles, said, “There is no provision in the budget to decrease the property prices in the district which are so high at present. The government should have included as many as 200 colonies adjacent to the city area under the civic body’s ambit to streamline and lessen property prices.”