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    Punjab wants special industrial package of ₹2,500 crore for border districts


    Punjab Finance Minister Harpal Singh Cheema. File.

    Punjab Finance Minister Harpal Singh Cheema. File.
    | Photo Credit: PTI

    Punjab Finance Minister Harpal Singh Cheema on Friday demanded from the Centre a special industrial package of ₹2,500 crore for Punjab, which he said was a border State with high stakes in national security. 

    He was in New Delhi where he submitted a memorandum containing Punjab’s suggestions and demands from the Union Budget 2022-23, in a pre-budget meeting with Union Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman.

    Mr. Cheema sought a border area special industrial package of ₹2,500 crore for the development of border districts of the State, besides raising other major demands. These included the resolution of the cash credit limit issue in line with the recommendations of the 15th Finance Commission’s sub-committee, budgetary support of ₹1,125 crore for assistance to farmers quitting stubble burning, ₹1,000 crore special assistance for modernization of the police force and policing infrastructure in sensitive border districts of the State, Vande Bharat trains to run from Amritsar and Bathinda to New Delhi, and a rail link to be created between Rajpura and Chandigarh.

    “Punjab being a border State with high stakes in national security needs to be considered along with other such areas in India as ‘special cases’ to attract investors and industries. A special package of ₹2,500 crore [may] be provided to the State of Punjab for the development of the industrial sector in the border districts of Pathankot, Gurdaspur, Amritsar, Tarn Taran, Firozpur, and Fazilka,” he said.

    Raising the cash credit limit issue, Mr. Cheema said that the sub-committee notified by the 15th Finance Commission, under the chairmanship of Ramesh Chand, has clearly verified the claims of the government of Punjab amounting to ₹6,155 crore. He demanded an early resolution of this issue in line with the rightful claims of Punjab as stated in the sub-committee’s report by providing the State with relief of ₹6,155 crore from this “unsustainable debt burden”. 

    Demanding budgetary support of ₹1,125 crore for assistance to farmers quitting stubble burning, the Punjab Finance Minister said that the State government has already requested the Central government to support and collaborate by providing ₹1,500 per acre as compensation to farmers in lieu of the additional cost to be incurred on the management of paddy stubble and thus to tackle the menace of stubble burning and air pollution. He requested that the Centre consider this proposal on priority in the interest of farmers as well as common citizens of the National Capital Region, demanding budgetary support of ₹1,125 crore in the Union Budget 2023-24 for this purpose.



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