Punjab: The Punjab is heading towards civil war, according to Navjot Singh Sidhu | Chandigarh News

CHANDIGARH: Expressing serious concerns over the deteriorating financial health of the Punjab, Congress State President Navjot Singh Sidhu said the state was heading into civil war if it failed to reverse the situation.
The head of the Punjab Pradesh congressional committee said the state would not be livable if immediate corrective action was not taken.
While sharing details of the state’s financial situation, Sidhu cited a CAG report that the Punjab’s public debt will be around Rs 4 lakh crore by 2024. The Punjab has become the largest state indebted from India with an RBI debt to GDP ratio of 48% which is the worst in the country. In recent years, the state has paid off its previous borrowings using about 73 percent of new borrowings, while 24 percent of state revenue was used to repay interest, he said.
Sidhu expressed dissatisfaction with Punjab’s per capita income slipping below the national average and per capita capital expenditure falling to the lowest in the country. He said the state only spends Rs 869 per person on capital spending, compared to the national average of Rs 3,509. The neighboring state of Haryana spends Rs 6,038.
He said all of the pro-popular announcements made by the government so far were part of the Punjab model that would be carried out over the next five years. “This is just a trailer. I assure people that these announcements are not for 2-3 months, ”he said.
Sidhu said the government does not have a machine to print banknotes and that there are only limited ways to generate funds – borrowing, tax and income.
“If the state cut Rs 15 on gasoline and diesel, it will cost the government Rs 6,000 crore, while cheaper electricity will cost an additional Rs 3,600 crore,” Sidhu said, adding that according to the Punjab model prepared by him and the chief minister Charanjeet Singh Channi, the government aimed to generate funds not by imposing taxes nor by borrowing but by its own income for which the resources of the state were to put in place public finances by ending the contract system.
“We will give facilities to people from state revenues,” he said.
Addressing successive state governments, including those of his own party, Sidhu said nothing has been done in 20 years to increase the productivity and incomes of farmers. “I have been saying for five years that the dharna and the farmers’ protests are symptoms of the ongoing agricultural crises. We will get the Three Farms Act repealed, but it will also not guarantee that farmers will become prosperous, ”he said.
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