Chandigarh, February 1: Ruling Aam Aadmi Party, opposition Congress, and Shiromani Akali Dal on Wednesday slammed the Union Budget, with Chief Minister Bhagwant Mann and State Finance Minister Harpal Singh Cheema saying the state has been completely ignored in it.
Mann said that first, on Republic Day, the state's tableau "was kept out of the parade," now Punjab has been "completely ignored" in the Union Budget, as he criticised the Centre for presenting a budget that was "anti-Punjab, anti-people, anti-farmers and directionless." Agnipath Scheme: Punjab CM Bhagwant Mann Assures Support to Recruitment Drives After Army Cites Lack of Local Assistance.
"Don't understand what revenge they are taking from Punjabis," he said.
Cheema also said, "I think Punjab has been completely ignored in this budget." Punjab's farmers and youths have been left disappointed and there is nothing in the budget for the common masses, Cheema told reporters here. Punjab CM Bhagwant Mann Asks Narendra Modi Govt To Withdraw GST on Sarais of Golden Temple.
Punjab Congress chief Amrinder Singh Raja Warring dubbed the budget "anti-poor" and "anti-people" while Shiromani Akali Dal president Sukhbir Singh Badal said it had failed farmers, ruralites, poor, and the youth. Mann said the Centre in its budget shortchanged the sacrifices made by hardworking people of the state.
"It is shameful that going by its myopic mindset the Union government has completely ignored the state thereby bringing a huge disrespect to countless sacrifices made by the brave and hardworking Punjabis in pre- and post-independent era," an official statement quoted Mann as saying.
He said that all "genuine demands of Punjab have been blatantly ignored and state figures nowhere in the Union budget." He said that being a border state, they had demanded Rs 1,000 crore for the modernisation of the BSF and state Police from Centre, which, he said, was necessary to combat the smuggling of drugs and weapons from across the border especially through the hi-tech drones.
The Union government, instead, gave the cold shoulder to this demand, he said. He said that during the pre-budget meetings the state had flagged the need to start Vande Bharat trains from Amritsar and Bathinda to Delhi, but this demand too was completely ignored, along with another demand of connecting all five 'Takhts' of the Sikhs through rail route.
Mann alleged that the budget has exposed the "anti-farmers stance of the Modi government" and added the government has run away from giving remunerative MSP on crops to farmers which, he said, was very unfortunate.
The Chief Minister said that his government had been pursuing the Centre to extend Rs 1,500 crore financial assistance for the farmers, but that too failed to materialise.
He said that though the Scheduled Tribes have been offered various facilities in budgets, the Scheduled Castes and Backward classes "have been completely ignored." He cautioned the Union government "to stop playing with fire by ignoring the state on key issues."
"India cannot be imagined without Punjab and the BJP-led Union government's attempt to ignore the contribution of Punjab and Punjabis will not be tolerated," he said, as he called Punjab the grain bowl of the country. Warring said the budget has actually turned out to be a "classic jumla" of the BJP government at the Centre.
He also alleged it was "an anti-poor and anti-people budget with key focus on increasing income of corporations only." Senior Congress leader and Punjab's Leader of Opposition Partap Singh Bajwa said there is nothing in the budget for the farmers and also "no legal guarantee … for the MSP as expected by the farmers all across India."
SAD chief Sukhbir Singh Badal said farmers were promised that their agriculture income would be doubled, "but far from doing anything to realise this goal, the government has not been able to ensure procurement of all food grains on minimum support price."
Speaking about the government thrust on millets, Badal said this would succeed only if all millet crops were procured as per remunerative MSP.