Punjab government presented Tax-Free annual budget for the year 2013-2014 here today for inclusive growth in the stated to promote growth.
Punjab Finance Minister Parminder Singh Dhindsa while presenting budget in Vidhansabha here said that the budget is a vision document in which the government had put forth the roadmap for cherishing the aspirations of the people of the state and put the state on road to economic recovery and eventually of resurgence.
In the budget, the state government plans to construct world-class infrastructure including international connectivity, four-lane and six-lane super express highways besides access to state of the art amenities of modern living. “The state government was constantly emphasising to make Punjab cities and villages completely clean and pollution-free adding that to integrate this with their vision for a power surplus Punjab. The budget envisages higher growth rate, health and reduced fiscal deficit and a major across the board package of relief and incentives to all sections of society from women, children, youth and the elderly and the poor, including the homeless, and enhanced national and international connectivity and four lane expressways to connect all major cities in the state,” Dhindsa said.
The Finance minister said that Punjab had achieved the target of 6.73% which exceeded the target of 5.9% for economic growth in 11th plan while the National economy grew at 5% in 2012-13. The per capita income increased @ 13.68% in 2012-13 against National growth rate of 11.67%.
Besides, the VAT collection has increased from Rs 5136 crore in 2007 to Rs 14,900 crore in 2012-13 which is likely to be increased to Rs 20,000 Crore in 2013-14.
“We will start Rural Rapid Police Response Service for providing Police assistance to the poorest of the poor villages within 20 minutes of a phone call on a dedicated number, which is first in its kind of initiative in the country. In addition to this, Punjab will be brought under the ‘Night Policing’ for improving the safety and security of its citizens. The government will spend Rs 135 crore for Safe City project for Amritsar and Ludhiana,” the Finance minister said.
Punjab government will provide annual scholarship of Rs 30,000 for senior secondary students of government schools who will score 80 percent or marks above it under a new Dr. Hargobind Khurana Scholarship Scheme. The BPL families will be provided medical insurance of Rs 30,000 for each member under a new Bhagat Puran Singh Health Welfare Scheme and government hospitals will provide free medicines to the poor in the state. In addition to this, all BPL families will get free Life Insurance for Rs 75,000 cover besides a monthly stipend of Rs 200 each for the children of poor families.
To empower women, the government will provide scholarship of Rs 30,000 to poor girl students under Nannhi Chhaan Scholarship Scheme for professional courses besides providing them free education in government ITI’s and a subsidy of Rs. 17,500 per cattle for women dairy entrepreneurs.
Dhindsa further stated that a world class Shaheed Baba Deep Singh Center for Excellence in Sports will be set up at Mohali with 4 regional campus at Bathinda, Jalandhar, Ludhiana and Amritsar for promotion of 10 important sports and sportspersons will receive free coaching from International level foreign and Indian coaches, with free boarding and lodging facility to be funded by the government.