The Aam Aadmi Party government in Punjab on Monday announced 300 units of free power to all households from July 1 in its Budget for 2022-’23.
A total Budget of Rs 1,55,859.78 crore was presented by Punjab Finance Minister Harpal Singh Cheema in the state Assembly, The Tribune reported. The budget size has been increased by 14.2% compared to last year, the minister said.
“First guarantee completed,” Cheema said in the Assembly. “Every household in Punjab will get 300 units of free electricity every month from July 1. The [Bhagwant] Mann government is fully prepared to finance the scheme.”
After Bhagwant Mann took charge as the chief minister, the Aam Aadmi Party government in April promised free electricity.
The scheme is likely to benefit nearly 62.25 lakh out of the total 73.80 lakh domestic consumers in the state as they use less than 300 units per month.
The government has proposed to earn Rs 95,378.28 crore this fiscal year against its total expenses, The Tribune reported. The revenue deficit will then be Rs 12,553.80 crore.
A revenue deficit occurs when the realised net income is less than the projected net income.
Cheema said that the Janta Budget, or People’s Budget, was prepared after receiving 20,384 suggestions on the government portal and through emails, reported PTI.
“Our focus in the first year will be threefold,” he said. “To restore deteriorating fiscal health, deliver on the promises of good governance by ensuring effective use of public funds and concentrate on health and education.”
The school education budget has been increased by 17% from last year, Delhi Deputy Chief Minister Manish Sisodia said.
“The Chief Minister of Punjab Bhagwant Mann has made a spectacular increase in the budget of education despite all the paucity of money in his first budget,” Sisodia wrote on Twitter. “There has been an increase of 17% in the school education budget as compared to last year, 48% increase in the technical education budget and 57% rise in the medical education budget.”
The government has also proposed the Punjab Young Entrepreneur programme, where Class 11 students will be encouraged to present their original business ideas, reported The Tribune. The state government has allocated Rs 50 crore for this initiative. Seed money of Rs 2,000 per student would be provided under the scheme.
Sixteen new medical colleges will be set up over the next five years, PTI reported. “The government will also establish 117 Mohalla Clinics, for which Rs 77 crore has been earmarked,” Cheema said.
The agriculture sector has received Rs 11,560 crore.
Aam Aadmi Party leader Arvind Kejriwal said that the budget will take Punjab towards a prosperous future. “The previous governments looted the treasury of Punjab and emptied it,” he said. “Our honest government ended many mafia as soon as it came [to power]. Work has started on the guarantees we had given, including electricity, education, health and employment.”