Meeranpur (Patiala), August 5 (YP Bureau)
Punjab Chief Minister Mr Parkash Singh Badal today held the poor financial management of the Union government solely responsible for the fiscal mess across the nation.
Talking to the media persons after inaugurating the University College here today, the Chief Minister said that the officials of the Union government frame the policies for the country while sitting in their plush Air Conditioned offices, without caring about the needs and ground realities of the country. He said it all resulted in haphazard drafting of policies which further create chaos in the country adding to the woes of the people as no care was being taken to safeguard their interest. Fixing of Rs. 28.35 and Rs. 22.42 daily expenditure as people above the poverty line for the urban and rural areas respectively by National Planning Commission was a nothing but a sheer mockery on the part of Union Government and a testimony towards their complete insensitivity towards the plight of the countrymen, added Mr Badal.
Assailing the Union government for ignoring the welfare of people by formulating the policies autocratically without concerning the state governments, the Chief Minister said the tendency of the Centre government to usurp the powers of the state governments was very dangerous as it not only violated the fundamental principles of democracy but also weakened the Federal structure of the country. Advocating a better deliberation between Union government and the state government before formulation of a national level policy, Mr Badal said that the Centre must take the states into confidence so that good policies for the betterment of people could be drafted and implemented properly. The Chief Minister also pleaded devolution of more money from the taxes collected by the Center from the states as the states were not getting their due share in return from the revenue collected on account of taxes imposed on the states.
Lashing out at the Union Government, the Chief Minister said that the staggering debt on Punjab was also the result of wrong policies of the Centre as despite of the fact that the people of state fought nation’s war against terrorism, no relief was given to it due to which the debt which was spent on deployment of Central forces in Punjab had been mounting manifolds. He said that prior to period of militancy in Punjab the fiscal health of the state was very good but as Center rendered no help to the state, its economy dwindled alarmingly during the hey days of terrorism.
Referring to relief announced by the Center for some states like Gujarat, Maharashta and Haryana in view of drought like situation, the Chief Minister said that it was unfortunate that Punjab was deliberately left out of its ambit despite of the fact that this food bowl of the country was adversely affected due to the deficit rainfall. He said that this discriminatory attitude of the Union Government was a testimony of injustice meted out by the Centre which has caused widespread resentment in the minds of people. However Mr Badal said that he had already taken up this matter with the Prime Minister and Union Agricultural Minister seeking a relief of Rs 2380 crore from centre. He expressed hope that the state would be benefited from the scheduled visit of Union Agriculture Minister Mr Sharad Pawar on August 10 to assess the situation.
Replying to a query, the Chief Minister said that no extra load of taxes would be put on the people of the state rather the Punjab government was only trying to rationalize the taxes so as to ensure the all round development of the state. He categorically said that there was no difference of opinion amongst the SAD-BJP alliance leadership regarding the matter.
Earlier addressing the gathering the Chief Minister said that entire education system, be at the level school, college or university level, would be revamped to the advantage of our youth so that they could compete globally in securing better jobs. Mr Badal further said that as a part of their endeavors to reform the Education system in the state the alliance government had opened around 17 new colleges in the state along with eight new universities for imparting quality education to the students. He said that part from it a record recruitment of 72000 teachers had been conducted by the alliance government in its bid to improve the infra structure of the schools. The Chief Minister further said as a result of these stupendous efforts made by them Punjab which earlier ranked 14th in the field of education, now tops the country.
The Chief Minister said that in order to perpetuate the rich cultural heritage of the state amongst the coming generations and to inculcate the values of patriotism and nationalism in them, a world class Freedom Martyrs' Memorial (Jung-e-Azaadi) would be constructed at Kartarpur. He said that this state of art memorial to be constructed at a cost of Rs 100 crore would commemorate the remarkable contribution made by the freedom fighters of our country in general and Punjabis in particular during the National freedom struggle. Mr Badal further said that he had recently visited places like Cellular prison at Andaman and Nikobar islands, Sabarmati Ashram at Ahmedabad and Teen Murti Bhawan along with Parliament Museum at Delhi to gather vital inputs and information for the meticulous conceptualization of this prestigious project.
Meanwhile the Chief Minister announced a grant of Rs 25 lakh for the college. Thanking the Chief Minister Akali leader Mr Tajinder Pal Singh Sandhu said that the opening of this college would open new avenues for the students of this area. Vice Chancellor of Punjabi University Dr Jaspal Singh also lauded the role of the state government in reforming the education.
Prominent amongst those present on the occasion included MLA Mrs Harpreet Kaur Mukhmailpur, Former Ministers Mr Surjeet Singh Kohli and Mr Ajaib Singh Mukhmailpur, Former SGPC President Jathedar Kirpal Singh Badungar and Anoopinder Kaur.