The SAD-BJP alliance today accused Punjab finance minister Manpreet Singh Badal of engineering a fake loan waiver scheme which does not give any relief to the poor farmers. The alliance leaders asked him to explain why he had played a “cruel joke” on them by making promises without keeping any provisions in the budget to implement the same. In a joint press conference here, SAD chief Sukhbir Singh Badal asked Manpreet to clarify whether all farmers were covered by the “so called” loan waiver scheme or it was restricted to crop loans only. He said the finance minister should also tell whether only cooperative loans were covered under the scheme or also those from nationalised and cooperative banks and commissioned agents.
“There is a feeling that a fraud has been committed which affected small farmers wile medium and rich farmers, who take crop loans, are being incentivized,” Sukhbir said. He said Manpreet should also explain whether farm workers were part of this loan waiver scheme and why a budgetary allocation of Rs 1,500 crore was made for an accumulated loan of around Rs 90,000 crore. Sukhbir, who was accompanied by senior BJP leader Som Prakash, said the finance minister should explain why no provision has been made in the budget for fulfilling the chief minister’s announcement of giving power at Rs five per unit. “As per our estimates the state needs Rs 2,300 crore to fulfill this promise. The finance minister should tell whether this shortcoming will be rectified or not,” he said.
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“No provision has been made for providing the means to provide 25 lakh jobs to youths. Manpreet seems to be preparing to make all these youths taxi drivers. If so, has any margin money been kept in the budget to purchase taxis for the youths,” Sukhbir asked. The SAD president alleged that Manpreet had played a cruel joke on lakhs of homeless people as provisions have been made for only 2,000 houses. Asking if the pay panel’s recommendation would be implemented this year, Sukhbir said, “If no, we want to ask him why is he discriminating against the very employees who have to implement his government’s budget and make the state deliver on the promises made to people.”
Seeking to know how the funding gap of Rs 10,273 crore in his budget would be bridged, the SAD president said, “The gap exists despite taking all income, including that would be coming from GST, into account.” Alleging the finance minister has no wish to implement the budget, he said, “The Congress had sold a dream to the people to befool them. When held accountable by the SAD-BJP combine the Congress has come out with a phony budget which is cannot be implemented.”