Hitting Out At critics of his government’s rule, Punjab Chief Minister Captain Amarinder Singh on Friday said while six months was hardly sufficient to judge the fact was that his government had not only implemented many of its poll promises but had also set in moment the process of bringing the beleaguered state economy back on track.
In a statement, the Chief Minister said it was unfortunate that after plunging the state into one of its worst ever financial crises, the Akalis were resorting to street politics in a bid to undermine the numerous achievements of the Congress government. As for the Aam Aadmi Party (AAP), they had always followed a negative political philosophy and continued to indulge in the same, despite the severe setback in the Punjab assembly polls, he said.
He said his government did not have a magic wand to wipe away the multifarious problems it had inherited from the previous SAD-BJP government as a result of 10 years of its misrule. However, the achievements notched up by his government in just six months had not only set the stage for Punjab’s development but also underlined its intentions and commitment to bring the state back on the path of progress.
Pointing out that the process to waive off farm loans had already been initiated, the Chief Minister said his government was waiting for central assistance in terms of relaxation in the Fiscal Responsibility and Budget Management (FRBM) Act, 2003, and enhancement in the borrowing limit to enable the state government to meets its agriculture debt waiver commitments. He said he had already taken up the issue with Prime Minister Narendra Modi.
Regretting the delay in disbursement of salaries to government employees, Amarinder said the central government’s GST contribution, which had to come in June, had been pushed back to September, leading to postponement in payment of the salaries. Unfortunately, the state, with its empty coffers, was not in a position to pay the salaries from its exchequer in the prevailing circumstances, he said.
On the issue of drugs and unemployment, the Chief Minister said the STF set up by his government had succeeded in breaking the backbone of the drugs mafia in the state in these six months and had created some 3 lakh jobs already for the unemployed youth.
With regard to industrial development, Captain said the Rs 5 per unit power tariff announced by his government would soon be notified and the various projects committed by major industries and business houses were also being rolled out on the ground. The projects would, of course, take some time to be implemented but once done, the state, which had suffered immensely on this count under the previous regime, would witness large-scale industrial revival to boost its economy, he added.
There was not a single pre-poll promise which his government had not already started executing in right earnest, he said, reiterating his commitment to bringing back the lost smiles of the people of Punjab. The smartphone disbursement promised to the youth was also in the process of being worked out, he said, adding that, in view of the financial constraints, the government had to prioritize the various promises, with farm loan waiver topping the agenda.
From social welfare schemes to development programmes, every Congress election promise was in the process of implementation, said the Chief Minister, but added that his government naturally needed time to realize its goals, with six months no yardstick to measure its success or failure.