Punjab Chief Minister Bhagwant Mann hailed the state budget for FY 2023-24 as the "common man's budget", describing it is a roadmap for a new, progressive, and prosperous Punjab.
The budget was presented by Finance Minister Harpal Cheema in the state assembly here on Friday.The Chief Minister in a statement said that it is a matter of great pride and satisfaction that the budget which proposes no fresh tax has been presented as his government completes one year in office.
He said that the budget is aimed at giving a major fillip to the development of the state, and will transform the destiny of the common people with peace and prosperity. The Chief Minister said that as per the commitment of his government, the budget presents a blueprint for restoring the "pristine glory of the state" with an impetus to growth in every sector.
Bhagwant Mann said that the day is not far when this budget, coupled with pragmatic policies of the state government, will usher in an era of progress in the state.The Chief Minister said that the state government has so far given 26,797 jobs to youth. The current budget strives to create an ecosystem for creation of private jobs for Punjabis and check the brain drain, he added.
He said that the budget of Rs 1,96,462 crore for FY 2023-24, up by 26 per cent in the FY 2022-23, reflects the commitment of the state government to ensure uninterrupted development in Punjab. Bhagwant Mann said that the allocation for agriculture and allied sectors has been enhanced by 20 per cent so that adequate steps can be taken for making farming a profitable venture.
The Chief Minister said that the provision to introduce a new agriculture policy with the objective to conserve natural resources and enhance farmers' income will go a long way in bailing out farmers from the current agrarian crisis. An allocation of Rs 1,000 crore for a special scheme on diversification in the upcoming financial year will also act as a catalyst for the wellbeing of the farmers, he said.
Mann also called historic the proposal to provide crop insurance to farmers to shield them against vagaries of the weather and other uncertainties. The Chief Minister said that the proposal to set up five new horticulture estates in Ludhiana, Gurdaspur, Patiala, Bathinda, and Faridkot will also go a long way in ensuring the wellbeing of the farmers.
He said that it is a matter of great pride that an outlay of Rs 17,072 crore has been provisioned for school and higher education, which is 12 per cent higher than previous year. The Chief Minister said that the state government will continue to facilitate the industrial units in the state by giving them huge fiscal incentives to boost industrialisation in the state.
Mann said that the budget has laid due focus on supporting various welfare schemes and for empowerment, protection and holistic development of SCs, Backward Castes, minorities, and all downtrodden sections of the society.