Finance Department contributed to every achievement of the government directly or indirectly so in that sense all achievements belong to Finance Department. Though COVID pandemic hit very hard globally and despite the financial constrains Punjab Government has not made any deduction in salaries of its employees, besides ensuring distribution of salaries and pensions on time, said the Punjab Finance Minister Mr. Manpreet Singh Badal, while addressing a press conference here at Punjab Bhawan today. He said that the pandemic has pushed the global economy in recession and every section of the society was hit very badly but Punjab has not availed the overdraft facility in current financial year and funds have been provided to the development works. Highlighting the various reforms undertaken by the Finance department over a period of 4 years, Mr. Badal said that the present Government has undertaken various Additional Resource Mobilization (ARM) Measures such as levying of nominal development tax of Rs. 200 per month which has generated revenue to the tune of Rs. 94.24 crore and Rs.138.07 crore in 2018-19 and 2019-20 respectively; implemented Social Security Surcharge on vehicles that has brought revenue of Rs. 56 crore in 2018-19 and Rs.153.39 crore in 2019-20 to be used specifically for providing social service benefits; Electricity Duty in rural areas has also been revised from 13% to 15%; Stamp Duty on urban property registration has been rationalized from 9% to 6% that has led to an increase in revenue by 4.48% (2017-18) and further by 7.61% (2018-19). Similarly, other ARM measures with respect Non-Tax Revenue streams have also been undertaken.
The Cabinet Minister said that for Expenditure rationalisation the State undertook the measures of Shifting of 470 Government Offices from Private Buildings to Government/ Semi Govt. Buildings; Rationalization of Domestic Power Subsidy for certain categories of SC, Non SC-BPL& BC consumers; Withdrawal of Optional Extension in Service beyond the date of retirement on superannuation. New Pay Scales for the fresh recruitments/ appointment in the services of Government of Punjab or its entities.Mr. Badal highlighted the Financial reforms undertaken that includes prudent debt management through dedicated Debt Management Unit; proactive cash management and investment of Rs 972 crore in the Consolidated Sinking Fund has helped the State in savings to the tune of Rs. 10.75 crore in 2017-18, Rs. 21.70 crore in 2018-19 and Rs. 5 crore (approx.) in 2019-20 respectively. Resultantly, the State during the current fiscal year 2020-21 has not gone into Overdraft for even a single day.Mr. Badal also spoke about the Good Governance and digital reforms undertaken that has not only led in savings extra cost to the exchequer but also helped in improving the efficiency and bringing transparency in the functioning of the Government. The major steps taken in this regard are introduction of new IFMS software developed by NIC w.e.f 01.04.2020;Integration with E-Kuber leading to a real time status of its cash position and eliminating the role of Agency Banks and their resulting delays; e-Receipt Portal facilitating home-based online transactions between a citizen & the government; HRMS whereby the salary bills of all employees as also their e-service books have been generated on the system and the same can be accessed by the employees on iHRMS Android app; Vehicle Management System i.e. a single database of all vehicles owned by the Government in its various departments, etc.