Shiromani Akali Dal (SAD) President Sukhbir Badal on Friday said the Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) government in Punjab had played another fraud by fudging figures to paint a rosy picture in Budget 2023-24 but was actually leading the state to financial ruin by increasing debt and performing poorly on all parameters.
Reacting to the state Budget presented in the Vidhan Sabha, the SAD president rubbished claims of increase in revenue, saying "figures have been conveniently fudged to hide the truth from Punjabis".
He said the truth was that the state debt had increased by Rs 42,181 crore to touch Rs 3.47 lakh crore. He said the outstanding debt to GSDP ratio of 46.81 per cent also suggested that the state was hurtling towards financial bankruptcy.
Badal also exposed the revenue figures given by the AAP government, saying the very fact that fiscal deficit was pegged at Rs 34,784 crore, meant that even the meager resources allocated for various departments and schemes were not likely to be released.
He said even the revenue deficit had doubled from Rs 12,553 crore to Rs 24,588 crore.Asserting that the Budget 2023-24 reflected the complete administrative failure of Chief Minister Bhagwant Mann, the SAD President said "AAP has also gone back on all promises made to the people".
He said this was the second Budget to be presented by the AAP government but yet no allocation had been made to provide an allowance of Rs 1,000 per month to all women in the state.
"Money has not been allocated for the Old Pension Scheme whose revival was announced with much fanfare. Similarly no money has been allocated for any infrastructure project including power generation."
Badal also asked the Chief Minister to explain why his government had failed to collect Rs 20,000 crore from sand mining and Rs 35,000 crore by taking anti-corruption steps.
"The AAP government has earned a meager Rs 135 crore from sand mining which itself indicates it has allowed the sand mafia to loot the state exchequer."
Asserting that all sections of society had been betrayed, Badal said "the Finance Minister has refused to disclose how much of the previous year's allocation was realised."
According to conservative estimates, the AAP government did not achieve even 65 per cent of its target.