Polls on mind, Punjab rolls out populist budget
With an eye on 2017 assembly polls, the Punjab government on Tuesday presented a Rs 86,387-crore tax-free populist budget, doling out many sops including insurance for farmers, farm credit facility, pension scheme, interest-free education loans and affordable housing.
Punjab Finance Minister Parminder Dhindsa also announced new scheme for providing free school bags to girl students, loan facility to women entrepreneurs at lower rates, setting up of 200 skill development centres, 4,000 modern gyms for youth, Rs 100 crore start up programme for research, Rs 100 crore SC scholarship fund and distribution of uniforms, school bags to children of SC families.
The FM also announced to slash collector rates by 15 per cent throughout the state in the wake of “drop” in real estate prices and also proposed to reduce stamp duty by 20 per cent to give relief to buyers of built up properties, besides proposing to construct 50,000 affordable houses in next fiscal.
The populist measures and sops announced by the FM in the budget for 2016-17 which was tabled in Punjab Vidhan Sabha will put additional financial burden of Rs 1,200 crore on the state exchequer.