CM promises farm loan waiver next month despite serious financial crunch; terms Bihar CM Nitish Kumar’s decision “sheer opportunism”
Manish Tiwari | Chandigarh
The Punjab government is expecting an increase of around Rs 5,000 crore revenue during the current financial year following the implementation of the Goods and Services Tax (GST) which will provide much needed relief to the cash-strapped State, Chief Minister Capt Amarinder Singh told Daily World on Saturday.
In an exclusive chat at his New Moti Bagh residence in Patiala, the CM said when he took over the State coffers were virtually left empty by the previous SAD-BJP government. His government was trying to improve the financial health of state and implement its electoral promises, including the farm debt waiver, which is likely to be implemented by next month. The present revenue receipts of the State stand at about Rs 25,000 crore every year.
Capt. Amarinder said the government could not afford to levy new taxes. However, he did not rule out a few more cesses being enforced to mop up additional revenue.
It may be mentioned that the State government’s top brass has been working on various options to bail the State farmers out of the debt trap and last week held parleys with the Reserve Bank of India (RBI) in Mumbai to seek its support. They are also in touch with the Union government to get support through relaxation in GoI’s polices.
Meanwhile, reiterating his resolve to provide accountable, transparent and responsive governance and administration at all levels, Capt Amarinder said, “We are seized of the public issues and are trying our level best to redress them at the earliest”.
Commenting on political developments in Bihar, Capt Amarinder described Nitish Kumar’s decision to dump RJD and join hands with the BJP as “politics of sheer opportunism”. “It will have a larger impact on the country and you will see a major turn of events in the political scenario ahead of the 2019 Lok Sabha elections,” he added.
On the resounding victory of the Congress in the recent Punjab Assembly elections, Capt Amarinder said, “People were fed up with the Akalis who are finished now and it was a contest between the Congress and the AAP. But the AAP leadership faltered at the last minute by cozying up to hardline elements. This led to a polarisation of Hindu votes in favour of the Congress, while a major chunk of Sikh votes got divided between the SAD and the AAP.”
The Chief Minister said that he was expecting around 65 seats but some of AAP decisions cost the party dearly and helped the Congress achieve a record mandate of 77 seats.