Sidhu tells voters not to fall for ‘lollipops’, warns govt against borrowing any more

Sidhu, time and again, underlined the poor financial condition of the state and said people should vote carefully, for Punjab, and for a better policy. “Don’t get swayed by lollipops.I have left the mantralaya for you.”

Punjab Congress president Navjot Singh Sidhu Monday asked people to vote carefully in the next year’s Assembly polls, and not fall for “lollipops” and added that he makes a statement only after having thought through it. He made the remarks hours after, in a series of tweets, he termed Punjab as the “most indebted” state in the country, putting the spotlight on precarious condition’s of state’s finances, and stressed that taxes should not be sued to settle debt but should go back to the people in the shape of development.

“Today Punjab is the most indebted state in India. Debt accounts for 50% of State GDP. Half of our expenditure is funded by expensive debt. Lets not derail from real issues to which every Punjabi & party worker demands solution, because there’s #PunjabBeyond2022 #HaqiqatPunjabDi,” Sidhu said in a tweet.
This come days after a successful special Punjab Assembly session in which he lauded Chief Minister Charanjit Singh Channi for his achievements.

The Punjab Cabinet, last week, gave its nod to amend the Punjab Fiscal Responsibility and Budget Management Act, 2003 so that it can avail the benefit of Normal Net Borrowing Ceiling of 4 per cent of the projected GSDP in the Financial Year 2021-22, as allowed by the Government of India. It also approved amendment in Section 4, in Sub-Section (2), for Clause (a) of the Punjab Fiscal Responsibility and Budget Management Act, 2003, in an indication that the government will borrow more money to meet its expenditure.

The Channi government has made a series of people-friendly announcements such as a cut in power tariff, decrease in VAT on fuel, free water for many households and regularisation of 36,000 ad hoc posts, all of which have financial implications. Sidhu had been slamming the government for its populist moves and questioning its source of funds for the slew of schemes announced by the CM in the run up to the next year’s Assembly elections.

Seeking transparency in allocation of funds for the various schemes and sops, Sidhu tweeted, “Financial Accountability and Transparency are pillars of Punjab Model. Accountability demands revealing sources of funds at every scheme announcement, whether from income or from more debt. Transparency demands making public state’s fiscal health every month.”

Sidhu, who had been giving the example of Tamil Nadu and Telangana to show how states can bankroll development schemes from revenue it can generate from liquor and sand mining also called for generating more income.

Warning the state government against borrowing any further, he said, “Borrowing is not the way forward! Taxes should not go to settle debt but go back to the people in the form of development. Solution oriented model is to stop theft of State’s resources, fill up public exchequer and create a Welfare State through income generation.”

The outstanding debt of the state is likely to touch Rs 2.73 lakh crore by March-end next year.
In the evening, he tweeted a video of him surrounded by nurses and technical workers of Punjab State Electricity Board, both seeking regularisation.

Sidhu, time and again, underlined the poor financial condition of the state and said people should vote carefully, for Punjab, and for a better policy. “Don’t get swayed by lollipops.I have left the mantralaya for you.”

Then cocking a snook at his own government without mentioning it, he said, “The pay commission, you should get it from Day 1, not in the last three months. you understand?”

When reminded by a job seeker that he (Sidhu) had asked him to approach him after the Cabinet formation, the PCC chief sought to differentiate himself from the Channi cabinet, saying he was in charge of the organisation and not the administration.

Sharing the video, Sidhu shared a couplet in Hindi, which loosely translated, says that he has always spoken the truth, and opens his mouth only after much thought. He said he has fired the cannon and let’s see how many get injured.

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