Punjab Budget focuses on agriculture, education, jobs

The Aam Aadmi Party-led Punjab government on Friday presented Rs 1.96-lakh-crore budget for 2023-24, with a focus on agriculture, education, employment and health segments.

Published: 11th March 2023 10:42 AM  |   Last Updated: 11th March 2023 10:42 AM   |  A+A-

Harpal Singh Cheema

AAP leader Harpal Singh Cheema.

Express News Service

CHANDIGARH:  The Aam Aadmi Party-led Punjab government on Friday presented a Rs 1.96-lakh-crore budget for 2023-24, with a focus on agriculture, education, employment and health segments. In the first complete budget by the AAP government, the total size has increased by 26 per cent to ` 1,96,462 crore over the previous year.

Meanwhile,  the debt is expected to rise to Rs 3.47 lakh crore by the end of this financial Last year in March when the AAP government took over, the effective outstanding debt stood at Rs 2. 63 lakh crore. After coming to power in March 2022, the AAP government first passed a vote-on account on March 22 and then it presented its budget in June for the remaining part of the year.

Speaking in the state assembly while presenting the budget, Finance Minister Harpal Singh Cheema said that education, health, and agriculture are among the priority sectors for the government. He announced various new schemes such as a market price risk mitigation scheme for the horticulture sector, solarisation of agriculture pumps, a young entrepreneur scheme and two coaching initiatives for students.

“Our Government proposes to introduce a ‘New Agricultural Policy’ with the objective to conserve natural resources and increase farmers’ income, a committee of experts already constituted in this regard. Also  Sarkar- Kisan Milni, initiative  of our Chief Minister, which got a resounding response from the farmers of Punjab, more such Milnis would be organised in coming months. One lakh quintals of quality seeds amounting to Rs 38 crore were procured by state nodal agency Punseed through track and trace system and around 50,000 farmers were provided subsidized seeds worth Rs 10 crore,’’ he said.

“The government would provide market intervention for basmati procurement, for which a  revolving fund would be created, 33 per cent subsidy on cotton seeds and track and trace mechanism for ensuring only quality seeds for our farmers. Rs 1,000 crore for a special scheme on diversification,’’ said Cheema. The Aam Aadmi Party government has allocated Rs 10,523 crore for maintaining law and order -- up 11 per cent from the previous year. 

“Some evil forces are always looking for opportunities to disturb peace and order in our border state,” Cheema said adding that such attempts in the past were thwarted by our brave police forces. “I, on behalf of my government warn the enemies of Punjab to fall in line else our government shall destroy them from the root,” said Cheema.

Cheema said the state government has set aside `40 crore in the 2023-24 Budget to strengthen the security infrastructure in border districts. This includes CCTV cameras in areas close to the international border, lights and high-end police vehicles.

Punjab Chief Minister Bhagwant Mann described the budget as a the roadmap for a new, progressive and prosperous Punjab.  He said that it is a matter of great pride and satisfaction that this tax free budget has been presented exactly a year after his government has assumed charge in office. He said that this maiden full budget of his government is aimed at giving major fillip to the development of the state.

Big Takeaways

Farm and allied sector: Rs 13,888 cr, up by 20% over previous budget

Rs 1,000 cr allocated for crop diversification; a revolving fund for basmati crop purchase has also been set up

Rs 125 cr allocated for direct sowing of paddy and moong crop purchases

Rs 9,331 cr for the farm sector earmarked for 23-24 for free power subsidy

Rs 74,620 cr proposed towards committed expenditure, a jump of 12% vis-a-vis 22-23 

Effective revenue deficit and fiscal deficit pegged at 3.32 %; 4.98% of the GSDP respectively

 A new risk mitigation scheme, Bhaav Antar Bhugtan Yojana for horticulture
 A new risk mitigation scheme, Bhaav Antar Bhugtan Yojana for horticulture


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