Punjab cabinet minister Navjot Singh Sidhu termed the budget presented today by the state Finance Minister Manpreet Singh Badal as “development centric, pro-people and futuristic”. He thanked the Chief Minister Amarinder Singh and Finance Minister Badal for according priority to the local government and tourism sectors. Sidhu is the the local government and tourism and cultural affairs minister in the Punjab government. Speaking to reporters, he said the chief minister had boosted the morale and put a stamp of approval on the path breaking initiatives being taken by his department. It is first time in the history of Punjab that the tourism and cultural affairs department has been accorded a special place, he said.
He said that finance minister Manpreet Singh Badal has earmarked Rs 26 crore for the preservation of culture of Punjab, tourist facilities and the face-lifting of museums. A sum of Rs 7 crore has been kept for the revival of heritage festivals which were neglected by the previous government, he said. “Not only this, but Rs 5 crore have been allocated for marketing of the tourism sector, attracting tourists and most important of all, inspiring NRI Punjabis to visit their home state,” he said. Sidhu said that the amount of Rs 2268.18 crore released previous year for the development of urban areas has now been doubled to Rs 4610.59 crore which accounts for 103.27 per cent increase.
The 4 premier cities of Amritsar, Ludhiana, Jalandhar and Patiala would be transformed into smart cities, he said. The announcements made today included easing CLU procedure, low cost LED lights in cities, addressing the problem pertaining to parking of vehicles by constructing a multi-level parking, he said.