Freebies working against future of Punjab: Union power minister RK Singh
While addressing members of Patiala Industrial Association here, Union power minister RK Singh said that the financial situation of Punjab was deteriorating due to the state government’s free electricity promise
Freebies are working against Punjab’s future, which is worsening with each passing year, said Union power minister RK Singh on Monday.
While addressing members of Patiala Industrial Association here, the minister said that the financial situation of Punjab was deteriorating due to the state government’s free electricity promise.
“Punjab is taking more loans to clear its previous debt,” he added.
Presenting the statistics about the financial situation of Punjab, the bureaucrat-turned-politician said the state has fallen into a debt trap.
“Punjab is a classic example of how freebies affect a state’s development. Out of the total budget of about ₹1.25 lakh crore, the state’s total tax collection is ₹82,000 crore, while its committed expenditure is ₹85,000 crore. Now, Punjab is taking loans to clear its dues,” the Union minister said.
Without taking any name, he took a potshot at the AAP-led state government and said, “Providing 300 units of free power is not good. Politicians are not paying for it, but are using the money which is collected from taxpayers.”
“You should question such freebie practices. Electricity is not free as generation companies have to buy coal, pay salaries and upgrade the distribution system. But with freebies, discoms are now dependent on government subsidy, which is irregular. Punjab is paying ₹19,000 crore subsidy this year, which is a cause of concern for such a debt-ridden state,” he added.
He also slammed Punjab State Power Corporation Limited (PSPCL) for not being “transparent” in its functioning.
On the opposition of the Electricity Amendment Act, RK Singh said it was wrongly projected that the amendment will stop the provision of subsidies.
“There is no such provision in the amendment. The bill has been brought to provide better facilities to power consumers and increase competition. Punjab is dragging its feet to sign the new policy through which it can avail ₹25,000 crore to upgrade its power distribution,” he added.
Patiala Industrial Association adviser Naresh Gupta flagged the issues pertaining to the industry.
The minister said he will personally discuss the taxation, health and other industry related concerns with the authorities and try to solve their genuine problems.
RK Singh has also been asked to supervise the BJP activities in Patiala.