Chandigarh, Mar 24: Punjab Finance Minister Manpreet Singh Badal on Saturday presented state Budget for the financial year 2018-19 at the Assembly on Saturday. This is the second Budget of the Congress government. The government has set aside Rs 25 crore for the promotion of Punjabi language and Rs 1,235 crore for welfare schemes. This year’s Budget also promises free wi-fi in all 48 government schools by July 2018. Also Read - 'You're Obliged to Pay us,' Opposition Hits Out at Nirmala Sitharaman Over Delay in GST Compensation
Presenting the Punjab Budget 2018-19, the minister has allocated Rs 84 crore for the setting up of a state cancer institute at Amritsar and tertiary cancer care centre at Fazilka. He also set aside Rs 8,950 crore for power subsidy to farmers, SC, BC and BPL families. Also Read - Manpreet Singh Badal Says Not Against AFSPA But Won't Allow Misuse
During the presentation of the Budget, the Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) and Akali Dal legislators staged a walk out demanding complete debt waiver for farmers. Also Read - No new tax in Punjab budget, focus on agriculture, health, education
Here are the key highlights of Punjab Budget 2018-19
- Punjab Finance Minister has allocated Rs 73.34 crore for upgradation of government medical colleges at Patiala and Amritsar.
- In Punjab Budget 2018-19, the government has set aside Rs 230 crore for upgradation of 75 rural roads and 4 bridges with NABARD assistance.
- The minister also promised of setting up a state cancer institute at Amritsar costing Rs 39 crore. He added that a Tertiary cancer care centre at Fazilka will also come up at a cost of Rs 45 crore.
- The Budget announces a support of Rs 25 crore to cancer and drug de-addiction treatment infrastructure board (CADA)
- In the field of education, the government has announced an enhancement of 6 per cent grant as compared to last year for six universities of Punjab, free Wi-Fi services in all Government colleges and Rs 42 grant for Panjab University.
- The government has also allocated Rs 914.57 crore for National Health Mission,Rs 4,015 crore for primary and secondary health care facilities and Rs 500 crore for smart cities of Ludhiana, Amritsar and Jalandhar.
- The minister announced installation of RO system in 1,500 schools. He has set aside Rs 9 crore for this purpose. Apart from this, Rs 10 crore have been allocated for free sanitary napkins at schools.
- Every taxpayer in Punjab will now have to pay 20 paise development tax, whereas, Rs 1,634 crore has been allocated for 17.35 lakh beneficiaries of social security pension
- The government has announced an outlay of Rs 180 crore for sugarcane growers and Rs 20 crore allocated in 2018-19 for establishing district bureaus of employment and enterprises in all 22 districts.
- Rs 100 crore will be provided for preparatory arrangements of 550th birth anniversary of Guru Nanak Dev in 2019 and Rs 10 crore for the development of tourism circuits.
- Initial allocation of Rs 10 crore has been made in the budget to set up sports University at Patiala.
- Rs 6 crore of outlay in 2018-19 for establishing shooting range at Mohali and new trap and skeet shooting range at Mukatsar.
- Rs 4,250 crore has been allocated for farm debt relief for 2018-19.
- Rs 124 crore to strengthen law and order machinery.
The Punjab Budget 2017-18 emphasised on creating and upgrading basic infrastructure in government educational institutes. It allocated Rs 36 crore to ensure furniture, green boards and computers in every primary school.