LM NEWS 24
LM NEWS 24

Punjab Budget: Expert Fears State Might Enter Debt Trap Soon

After the Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) government presented its first budget in Punjab with the announcement of no new tax and free electricity from July 1, an economic expert believes that this will push the state into a debt trap in near future.

Dr Suvrokamal Dutta, an economic and foreign policy expert, highlighted the budget is well packaged with sugar-coated words in it with loads of thoughts for daydreaming.
“When analysed in-depth the focus seems to be directionless and confusing in the budget. The state has an overall debt of almost Rs 2.85 lakh crores and the government is totally clueless about how to overcome this,” he added.

Punjab Finance Minister Harpal Singh Cheema on Monday announced providing 300 units of free electricity to households from July 1, setting up 117 Mohalla Clinics and upgrading 100 schools as ‘schools of eminence’ in the state among other proposals.

The Bhagwant Mann-led government also announced setting up cyber-crime control units in all districts of the state while keeping its focus on health, education, agriculture, and police modernisation.

Dutta also criticized the state government’s decision of providing free electricity of 300 units to each household.

“In such a situation when the state is already overburdened with huge financial debt, free electricity will only worsen the situation further. It will further burden the state exchequer and deepen the financial crisis further.”

He also opined that the level of financial debt which the state has cannot be mitigated only through GST collection.

“Already the state government has approached the Government of India for a bailout package to handle the financial crises in the state as such announcement of such freebies is not financially or economically viable.”

Since coming to power, the AAP government has faced criticism due to the deteriorating law and order situation, drug menace and alleged revival of pro-Khalistan activism.

He also listed major challenges for the Punjab government and stated that immediate and urgent long-term solutions are the need of the hour.

“Problem of drugs and drug addiction together with reeling unemployment, depletion of groundwater, soil desertification negative industrial growth are other major challenges, which need urgent long term solutions.”

Dr Suvrokamal Dutta in a nutshell termed the northern state’s budget as a populist budget with no focus or direction in it to handle the challenges.

“This budget will further deepen the challenges and crises faced by Punjab in the long run,” he concluded. (ANI)

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