Punjab & Region

In a first, Punjab’s Janta will get its own budget: Harpal Cheema

The Fact News Service
Chandigarh, May 12

Punjab Finance and Planning Minister Harpal Singh Cheema, on Thursday, said that first time in the history of the state, the Punjab budget to be tabled in Punjab Vidhan Sabha, would be prepared on the basis of suggestions and consultations of the people of the state, which will be the exact expression of feelings and thoughts of all Punjabis.

Addressing media persons here at Punjab Bhawan, Cheema said, on the instructions of Chief Minister Bhagwant Mann towards a collaborative and participative budget, it was decided to consult the public before preparation of the budget, and we have received overwhelming response from public. “People made suggestions very openly”, said the Finance Minister, adding that while presenting the budget of Punjab, the suggestions and consultations put forward by all the people, industrialists, trade associations, youngsters, women and representatives of all walks of life, would be taken into consideration.

The Finance Minister said that out of more than 20,000 responses received on portal and emails, two-third of suggestions received from the youth, who raised demand for better education with state-of-the-art academic facilities, more job opportunities, e-governance initiatives, etc., while main issues came out of this exercise were creating new employment generation avenues, larger spending on education and health infra, improving power and industry infra for holistic development of the state.

“More than 500 written memorandums were also received from Industrialists, who demanded business-friendly environment, ultra-modern infra, elimination of Inspector Raj, ease of doing business with simplification of rules and better enforcement to keep a check on illegal practices”, said the Finance Minister, adding that every one-in-five suggestions was received from women folks. They demanded equal opportunities for girls coupled with better healthcare facilities and education prospects.

Highlighting the suggestion categorically, the Finance Minister mentioned that out of total 20,384 suggestions, 14,859 were received on Janta Portal, 5025 on emails, while 500 letters and memorandums were received manually. Divulging demographic data, he said, 72.70% suggestions were received from male category with highest from 31 to 40 age group (45.42%) and 19.89% females with highest 48.75% from 31 to 40 age group.

Cheema said that suggestions received on the Janta Budget Portal, which may be considered in future, included restoration of old pension scheme, reduction of probation period from current 3 years, equal work-equal pay, power and transports subsidies, benefits to single girl child in education, enhancement of budget for the Higher Education, promotion of information technology-related industry, tax-free zones or special economic zones near border cities to boost economic growth in these areas, establishment of Liquor Corporation and formation of Sand & Mining Corporation and reservation/preference to residents of Punjab in all jobs.

The Finance Minister, while giving details of the field meeting at districts, said that he covered all 23 districts during his week-long tour and received most of the suggestions from Ludhiana (10.61%), Patiala (10.12%), Fazilka (8.14%), Bathinda (6.03%) and Amritsar (5.81%). “We have also received suggestions from Punjabis residing across the globe; especially in large number from neighboring states Haryana, Delhi and Rajasthan”, he added.