BENGALURU: A Bengaluru-based former career bureaucrat and AAP leader, who had also served as secretary at Rastrapathi Bhavan, has outlined a roadmap for the Aam Aadmi Party in Punjab, where the party put up a phenomenal performance. Delhi, where the party is already in power, and Punjab are vastly different and so are the needs of both states, Renuka Vishwanathan told TNIE.
“Punjab’s economy is full of paradoxes. The state has the highest per capita income, but it also has the highest budget deficit, and is forever seeking special Central funds to keep the government afloat,’’ she explained.
“The best bet is to unleash the forces of good governance, collect every penny that is legally due and spend it thriftily. The removal of corrupt intermediaries has released a budgetary bonanza in Delhi, where the government has launched pro-poor initiatives without raising taxes. The same approach can work wonders in Punjab and give taxpayers the full benefit of current levies,’’ she added.
As for the agriculture sector, Renuka said, “Farms are doubly drought-proofed — there is perennial canal irrigation and this is supplemented with borewell water. Environmentally sound policies are essential to prevent soil degradation and to conserve water. Availability of cheap power for irrigation pumpsets and diesel generators has always been a key concern for the farming community.
My dream project for Punjab is the proliferation of decentralised village-level solar generation units backed up by the grid. It will transfer administrative responsibility from the state power utility to local panchayats which can meet the needs of households, local industries and irrigation pumpsets with cheap power.’’
“Political fireworks can be expected when Mann’s Cabinet fights battles for Minimum Support Price in the coming seasons. The AAP’s move into Punjab will also ensure that the air pollution battle of Delhi will now be fought jointly by its two CMs.’’