Punjab FM presents ₹2.04 lakh crore budget for 2024-25 - Hindustan Times

Punjab FM presents 2.04 lakh crore budget for 2024-25

Mar 05, 2024 02:45 PM IST

The outstanding debt has been projected at ₹3,74,091 crore at the end of FY25, up from ₹3,43,626 crore as per 2023-24 revised estimates.

Punjab finance minister Harpal Singh Cheema on Tuesday presented a 2,04,918 crore budget for the financial year (FY) 2024-25.

Finance minister Harpal Singh Cheema presenting the Punjab budget as chief minister Bhagwant Mann looks on in the Vidhan Sabha on Tuesday. (Ravi Kumar/HT)
Finance minister Harpal Singh Cheema presenting the Punjab budget as chief minister Bhagwant Mann looks on in the Vidhan Sabha on Tuesday. (Ravi Kumar/HT)

The outlay is 2.93% more than the 2023-24 (revised estimates) of 1,99,076 crore. In the 2023-24 budget estimates, the finance minister envisaged spending 1,96,462 crore.

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The total revenue receipts have been projected to be 1,03,936 crore in FY 25, of which the own tax revenue (OTR) accounts for 58,900 crore. The state’s non-OTR has peen pegged at 11,246 crore. The share of central taxes has been pegged at 22,041 crore and grant-in-aid from the Centre at 11,748 crore.

The revenue expenditure for 2024-25 is estimated to be 1,27,134 crore.

The outstanding debt has been projected at 3,74,091 crore at the end of FY25, up from 3,43,626 crore as per 2023-24 revised estimates.

Focus on health, education sectors

Presenting his third consecutive budget, Cheema said 13,784 crore has been earmarked for the agriculture sector and 16,987 crore for the education sector.

Cheema said the government has proposed a Malwa canal project, which aims to reduce reliance on groundwater and optimise under-utilised Punjab’s share of Beas-Sutlej river water during the Rabi period. The new Malwa canal project aims to cover about 1.78 lakh acres, benefiting farmers in Bathinda, Faridkot, Ferozepur and Muktsar districts.

The budget has an allocation of 575 crore for crop diversification schemes. “Our government is committed to our ‘annadatas’ in every way and as a gesture of continued support for them, we have allocated 9,330 crore in FY 2024-25 towards power subsidy for agriculture. I propose a budgetary outlay of 194 crore for soil and water conservation, including proposals to undertake two new NABARD projects for providing financial assistance to farmers for laying underground pipelines for irrigation,” he said.

The finance minister also announced an outlay of 16,987 crore for the education sector, which is around 11.5%of the total estimated expenditure in the next fiscal.

He said 118 government schools will undergo a transformation to become state-of-the-art ‘schools of eminence’ and 14 schools of eminence have already been started. The government has budgeted 100 crore in FY25 for this.

Besides, 100 government senior secondary schools will be transformed as Schools of Brilliance, he said, adding that an initial allocation of 10 crore has been earmarked. This scheme aims to elevate education quality and transform these rural schools into centres of learning from Classes 6 to 12.

To develop technical skills, schools of applied learning is proposed with an initial provision of 10 crore in FY25. In the first phase, hi-tech vocational labs would be constructed in 40 schools, he said.

The government proposes to transform 100 primary government schools into schools of happiness. The focus would be on providing well-ventilated classrooms, dedicated play areas, resource rooms and activity corners. For this, 10 crore has been provisioned.

In the health sector, 829 Aam Aadmi Clinics have already been established in the state and many more are in the pipeline. 80 types of medicines and 38 diagnostic lab tests are being provided free of cost at these clinics. So far, more than one crore patients have availed treatment.

“An allocation of 249 crore has been earmarked in FY2024-25 for strengthening this revolutionary initiative,” the finance minister said.

Targets Centre for ‘apathy’ towards Punjab

During his speech, Cheema targeted the central government, saying, “It is also my responsibility to apprise this august House about the apathy shown by the Union government towards Punjab.The withholding of the rightful share of the state, totalling 8,000 crore approximately, on account of National Health Mission (NHM), Rural Development Fund (RDF), Mandi Development Fund (MDF), and Special Assistance to State for Capital Investment has directly affected developmental works and put additional burden on the state treasury,” he said.

Cheema said that the annual growth rate in state’s own tax revenue has been much higher, that is 13% as against the compound annual growth rate of 8% from 2012-17 and 6% from 2017-22.

The AAP (Aam Aadmi Party) government has implemented measures to streamline administrative processes, enhance transparency, and curb corruption, he said, adding that the Bhagwant Mann-led government has provided 40,437 jobs in two years.

As per advanced estimates provided by the directorate of statistics, Punjab is growing at the rate of 9.41% in the current year and the GSDP (gross state domestic product) stands at 7,36,423 crore. The GSDP has been estimated to grow at 9% to 8,02,701 crore in FY 2024-25.

Sports nurseries with initial outlay of 50 crore

The government proposes to establish 1,000 sports nurseries for nearly 60,000 sportspersons aged between 6 to 17 years in all districts of Punjab. In the first phase, 250 sports nurseries will be set up with coaching facility and the availability of sports equipment to players for which an initial outlay of 50 crore is proposed in FY 2024-25.

To improve employability, the government proposes a budgetary outlay of 179 crore in FY 2024-25 to implement schemes for training and skill development. The Punjab Hunar Vikas Yojana will be started to strengthen C-PYTE training centres for which 46 crore has been earmarked. C-PYTEs are centres for training and employment of Punjab youth.

10,635 crore for law enforcement initiatives

A budgetary outlay of 10,635 crore has been provisioned for FY 2024-25 for the department of home affairs, justice and jails to support their law enforcement initiatives.

An outlay of 2,695 crore has been earmarked to build better road connectivity.

A multi-engine aircraft and two simulators have been procured for the aviation clubs in Patiala and Amritsar to train aspiring pilots.

A sum of 40 crore is proposed in FY 2024-25 for the construction of hostels at Panjab University, Chandigarh.

A provision of 40 crore has been made to further research-related and other infrastructure at Punjab Agricultural University, Ludhiana, in FY 2024-25.

(With inputs by Ravinder Vasudeva and Gurpreet Singh Nibber)

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    A senior assistant editor, Navneet Sharma leads the Punjab bureau for Hindustan Times. He writes on politics, public affairs, civil services and the energy sector.

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