Chandigarh: Responding to the false propaganda by the opposition leaders about the debt raised by Chief Minister Bhagwant Singh Mann led Punjab Government, Finance Minister Harpal Singh Cheema on Monday gave details of every peny raised as debt by the current state government while mentioning that out of total debt, Rs 27 thousand crore were paid as interest for the debt taken by the previous SAD-BJP and Congress led state government. He also appealed the Punjab Governor Banwari Lal Purohit to help the state government in getting dues of Rs 8145 crore from the Union Government.
Addressing a press conference at the Punjab Bhavan here, Finance Minister Harpal Singh Cheema gave an account of Rs 48,530 crore in response to the debt of Rs 47,109 crore raised by Punjab during the last one and a half year. Finance Minister Harpal Singh Cheema said that the state government has raised debt of Rs 47109 crore during last one and half year which includes debt of Rs 32,448 crore raised during the fiscal year 2022-23 and Rs 14661 crore from April 1, 2023 to August 31, 2023. He said that out of this, Rs 27,106 crore were paid as interest on the debt raised by the previous Akali-BJP and Congress led state governments.
He said that apart from spending Rs 10,208 crore on capital expenditure, the state government bear debt of Rs 1148 crore of PUNSUP and Punjab State Cooperative Agriculture Development Bank to bail out these institutions, and paid Rs 2556 crore to PSPCL for pending power subsidy of previous governments. He said that apart from this, Rs 798 crores of Rural Development Fund, Rs 1008 crores of sugarcane farmers, Rs 1750 crores of centrally sponsored schemes were paid. He said that Rs 4000 crore were also invested in the sinking fund established by the Union government to get loans at affordable rates.
The Finance minister further said that a total of Rs 8145 crore is owed to the Centre, which includes Rs 5637 crore from Rural Development Fund, Rs 1857 crore from Special Capital Assistance and Rs 651 crore from National Health Mission (NHM). He said that apart from writing letters to the Union Government, Punjab Chief Minister Bhagwant Singh Mann paid visit to concerned Union Minister to seek state’s dues including Rural Development Fund (RDF) pending towards the Union Government. He appealed the Punjab Governor to help in getting dues from the Union Government.
Giving a strong reply to the opposition leaders who made false statements against the Punjab government of Aam Aadmi Party, Harpal Singh Cheema said that state has registered an increase of 17 percent in GST, 44 percent in excise revenue, 13 percent in taxes on vehicles, and 3 percent in revenue from stamp and registration. He said that the current Punjab government has also succeeded in reducing the interest rate on Rs 32,000 Crore Cash Credit Limit debt extended to Punjab by the Akali-BJP government, to 7.35 per cent after negotiating with the Union Government, which saved the state Rs 3,500 crore.
Answering the media queries on this occasion, Finance Minister Harpal Singh Cheema said that during the North Zonal Council meeting to be held in Amritsar from Tuesday, the issues of the state will be raised strongly. He said that during the last meeting of the council, issues like BBMB and Panjab University were effectively raised. In response to a question about Haryana's efforts to get land from Chandigarh to construct a separate Vidhan Sabha, he said that Chandigarh belongs to Punjab and will remain Punjab's, Haryana can built its own separate Vidhan Sabha in Panchkula.
In response to a query about the Canada-India dispute, Finance Minister Harpal Singh Cheema said that not just from Punjab students from all over India study in Canada and a number of Indian professionals were also working there. He said that the Prime Minister should resolve this issue at the earliest through talks with Prime Minister of Canada.
In response to a question about former Finance Minister Manpreet Singh Badal, Harpal Singh Cheema said that the former always talked about values then why is he now running away from the law. He said that the former finance minister should leave his cowardly attitude and surrender himself over to the law because if he has not done anything wrong then why is he afraid.
In response to a queries about the statements made by current BJP president and former Congress president Sunil Jakhar and Congress leader Navjot Singh Sidhu about the financial condition and debt of Punjab, Harpal Singh Cheema said that the state had the raised the highest debt during the regime of their. He said that the Punjab government led by Chief Minister Bhagwant Singh Mann is not only paying off the outstanding debt, but also fulfilling the promises made to the people of the state from the very first day of coming into power. He said that till now 37 thousand youths have got regular government jobs, services of 13 thousand temporary teachers have been secured and their salaries have been raised three times, the allowance for Patwaris during training has been increased from 5000 rupees to 18000 rupees, the power bill has been reduced to zero and several major initiatives have been taken, including the establishment of Aam Aadmi clinics.