Wednesday, March 29, 2017
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White Paper on state’s fiscal mess: GuvGovernor VP Singh Badnore addresses the Vidhan Sabha on Tuesday. Tribune photo: Manoj Mahajan

White Paper on state’s fiscal mess: Guv

Says govt committed to restoring financial position of state and putting it on high-growth trajectory29 Mar 2017 | 1:31 AM

Chandigarh: Blaming the earlier SAD-BJP government for the “collapsing” economy with an alarming Rs 13,484 crore revenue deficit and a fiscal deficit of Rs 26,801 crore, the Punjab Government today said it would bring out a “White Paper” on development works, governance reforms and the state’s financial state to “apprise the common man on the present (pitiable) situation inherited by the government.”

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Sanjeev Singh Bariana

Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, March 28

Blaming the earlier SAD-BJP government for the “collapsing” economy with an alarming Rs 13,484 crore revenue deficit and a fiscal deficit of Rs 26,801 crore, the Punjab Government today said it would bring out a “White Paper” on development works, governance reforms and the state’s financial state to “apprise the common man on the present (pitiable) situation inherited by the government.”

Addressing the Vidhan Sabha, Governor VP Singh Badnore said:  “The government is committed to restoring the financial position of the state and to once again put it on a high-growth trajectory.”

In his 35-minute speech, he said, “Punjab’s financial health has been under stress for some time on account of rising salaries and wage bills, mounting debt burden, slow growth of revenue receipts as compared to revenue expenditure and loss-making public sector units (PSUs).”

The SAD MLAs arrived a little before the start of the session at 11 am. They were seen exchanging pleasantries with Congress legislators. The AAP MLAs and the Bains brothers of the Lok Insaaf Party (LIP) arrived last. 

Badnore said, “During the last five years (2012-2017) the projections/targets of the state excise and VAT revenue were never achieved. During the last 10 years, the total debt of the state had increased from Rs 48,344 crore to Rs 1,82,537 crore at the end of 2016-2017. The government had borrowed Rs 15,632 crore on behalf of Punjab State Power Corporation Limited alone. In order to settle the gap in the cash credit limit (CCL) for foodgrain, the government agreed to term loan, which further burdened the state. 

“At the moment, the government is trying to come to grips with the financial mess it has inherited; implementation of poll promises will be visible in the coming Budget (2017-2018).” 

He said to prevent debt-trapped farmers from committing suicide, the government would enact a legislation to prohibit ‘kurki’ and the sale of farmers’ land by the lending agencies. It would continue to provide free power to the farmers, establish a board for contract farming, and take administrative and legal measures to defend its water rights.

To fight the drug menace, he said: “The government will pass the Confiscation of Drug Dealers Property Act besides setting up a special task force which will report directly to the Chief Minister.” Blaming the deterioration in governance on “political interference through halqa heads” during the SAD-BJP regime, he said the government was committed to simplifying processes for better services through a new Governance Reforms and Ethics Commission (GREC).

He said all MLAs would be required to declare details of their immovable property on January 1 each year and for the current financial year by July 1. Fresh surveys would be carried out for the “ghar ghar mein naukri’ endeavour.

The Governor, underlining the need to revamp the police and a change in the attitude of law-enforcing agencies, said the territorial jurisdiction of police stations would be rationalised and the policemen would have fixed duty hours, except in case of emergencies.

Badnore said the government would make efforts to commission the Shahpur Kandi hydel project and the Mukerian-II project to augment power generation that now stood at 13,960 MW. The government proposed to give a greater role to the private sector in providing transport facilities. “All illegal and ineligible permits will be cancelled”.

He said the government would ensure 30 per cent reservation for SCs in the allotment of houses and residential and commercial plots, besides 30 per cent quota for women in government jobs.

At the end of the speech, the Governor forgot to say ‘the House is adjourned’ and walked out after the National Anthem. The AAP leaders kept sitting for five minutes and then left.


Governor’s Address retrograde: Badal

Chandigarh: Former Chief Minister and SAD stalwart Parkash Singh Badal on Tuesday said he had been saddened by the address given by the new government to the Governor to read as it was “a directionless, visionless and retrograde step that contains no outline for growth, development and prosperity of the state”. In a statement, he said: “The address sounded more like a cry-baby’s list of grievances than a sound policy and vision statement of grown-up and mature administrators. It is a fault-finder, not a path-finder. It shows that at least up to now, the government proposes to just push blame for their failures to their predecessors.” TNS

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Will retain SAD-BJP policy of exams for Classes V, VIIIMY AGENDA ARUNA CHAUDHARY, MINISTER OF STATE, EDUCATION

Will retain SAD-BJP policy of exams for Classes V, VIII

29 Mar 2017 | 1:31 AM

Contrary to her senior Cabinet colleagues, who are vowing a strict review of some important decisions taken by their predecessors, Minister of State for Education Aruna Chaudhary said the Congress government would follow the previous SAD-BJP government’s policy of conducting annual examination for Classes V and VIII even as there is no provision for such an evaluation under the Right To Education (RTE) Act, 2009.

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