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Revenue touching all-time high of Rs 30k cr, VAT at Rs 20k cr
September, 10th 2013

Punjab deputy chief minister Sukhbir Badal on Monday sought to allay fears of fiscal crisis in the state amid reports of non-payment of salaries to its employees last week, asserting that Akali Dal government had not defaulted in the past seven years on monthly bills and that the state's revenue receipts and VAT collection were in excess of Rs 30,800 crore and Rs 20,000 crore respectively.

At an impromptu marathon press conference, power packed with a host of presentations, in Chandigarh, Sukhbir rushed along with a battery of senior IAS officers from finance and other departments to "criticize" media reports for negative publicity of the government.

"The Congress-led UPA government needs this sort of criticism The debt to GDP ratio of India is embarrassingly low at 68.05% while ours is 32%. We are ranked 6th in terms of improvement, ahead of Maharashtra, Haryana and even Gujarat," he said.

Sukhbir hit out at the UPA government for their sixth pay commission recommendations for the hike in salary and pension bills of Punjab.

"In Punjab, the average salary of a constable or lowest rank officer is Rs 29,000 while in Delhi it's Rs 18,000 and in Haryana 15,600. The maximum burden has been on us because of 6th pay commission," he pointed out.

He said that productive utilization of debt was not bad for Punjab and essential for its growth as "no business, country and state could survive without loan".

"Debt is a universal concept. Which state government or country doesnt have debts? Even corporate giants like Anil Ambani's ADA group, Vedanta Resources, Essar Group, Adani group, Jindal industries and so on have a debt of Rs 80,000 croe plus," he said.

He blamed the Centre for showing bias towards other states in offering annual grants.

"We received just Rs 4700 crore, while UP, West Bengal, Maharasthra and as recent as even Bihar received more than Rs 150 crores in the 2012-13," he said.

Sukhbir also dismissed reports of poor investment climate in Pujab, forcing many industrialists to shift their base.

"Punjab excelled in investment implementation of Rs 2 lakhs crore which was 79% in last two years as per Assocham report and Punjab ranks at number 3 where as all India average was 57% in this regard. These are industry figures," he said.

Sukhbir said that the per capita income in Punjab was Rs 78,594 during 2011-12 whereas in 2012-13 it roses to Rs 89,345 with an increase of 13.68%.

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