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Punjab budget: State’s economy will be back on track in 2-3 years, says Manpreet

Punjab finance minister Manpreet Singh Badal is hopeful regarding state’s finances and describes it as ‘work in progress’

punjab Updated: Mar 25, 2018 00:02 IST
HT Correspondent
HT Correspondent
Hindustan Times, Chandigarh
Punjab budget,fiscal 2018-19,manpreet singh badal
Punjab finance minister Manpreet Singh Badal presenting annual budget at state assembly in Chandigarh on Saturday.(Keshav Singh/HT)

Punjab finance minister Manpreet Singh Badal on Saturday said his government was focused on fiscal consolidation and would put the state’s economy back on rails in the next two-three years.

“We are hopeful of a turnaround in the state’s finances. If you ask me to describe it today, I will say it is a work in progress,” he told reporters at his customary press conference after presenting the second budget of the Congress government in the state.

Asked about the proposed development tax of ₹200 per month on income tax payers in the state, Manpreet said the government would get anything between ₹150 to ₹200 crore. “Also, this one step will give us access to cheaper loans from lending institutions like Asian Development Bank and help us save substantially on interest,” he said.

Defending the move, he said this tax would come out to be less than ₹7 per day. “If a group of four people sit together for a cup of tea, the bill comes to ₹200,” he reasoned.

On the shortfall in his revenue estimates for the current financial year, Manpreet said revenue collection from transport sector and stamp duty did not match the initial estimates. As for budget estimates for 2018-19, he said out of the state’s own tax revenue of ₹41,064 crore, ₹21,440 crore would come from the Goods and Services Tax (GST).

Responding to a question about Congress’ poll promise of farm debt waiver, the finance minister said the government was committed to waiving farm debt. “An allocation of ₹4,250 crore in 2018-19 has been made. If more funds are needed, we will provide the same,” he added.

First Published: Mar 24, 2018 23:58 IST