Punjab government announces 300 units of free electricity for households from July 1

After 30 days at the helm of Punjab on Saturday, the Bhagwant Mann-led AAP government announced 300 units of free electricity from July 1 for all categories of domestic consumers.

This was one of the first crucial pre-election elections announced by AAP National Leader Arvind Kejriwal on June 29, 2021.

The state has already provided free electricity to farmers, in addition to 200 free units to Scheduled Caste, Backward Class and BPL families.

In front-page newspaper advertisements in almost every major daily newspaper, the government announced it would provide free electricity, in addition to highlighting its achievements which include the launch of the anti-corruption hotline, which Mann launched on March 23, the day of the martyrdom of freedom fighters Bhagat Singh. , Sukhdev and Rajguru.

Helpline opens — 9501-200-200 — Mann, whose party came to power winning 92 of 117 seats, said people shouldn’t say ‘no’ if asked to pay a bribe. Instead, they have to make a video and send it to the given number, via WhatsApp.

Other significant achievements include announcing to fill 25,000 new government jobs, regularizing the service of 35,000 contract workers and rolling out door-to-door delivery of rations for the poor, the model that the Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) government ) in Delhi had attempted to implement but had to cease following objections from the Centre.

A day earlier, the government announced the transfer of more than Rs 2,000 crore to farmers’ bank accounts for payment of the Minimum Support Price (MSP).

A government statement said that Rs 828 crore had already been transferred to their accounts so far

The government has yet to release the timing of another major pledge ahead of the poll to pay a stipend of Rs 1,000 per month to all women over 18. This windfall will likely cost over Rs 15,000 crore a year to the government whose financial crisis is set to deepen with debt likely to exceed Rs 3,000,000 crore.

Banking largely on freebies to woo voters, the AAP had also promised to appropriately compensate Anganwadi and ASHA (Accredited Social Health Activists) workers financially.

After claiming the formation of the government, Mann promised that the AAP would provide a good cabinet and make historic decisions.

However, the ever-increasing burden of salaries and pensions and rising debt and interest rates leave room for development, officials admit.

According to official figures, the total outstanding debt of Punjab as of March 31 was projected at Rs 2,52,880 crore, or 42% of the GSDP for 2020-21 and the outstanding debt is expected to be Rs 2,73,703 crore in 2021-22, i.e. 45% of the GSDP.

Twenty percent of the annual budget is spent just to pay interest on loans.

According to the latest findings from the Comptroller and Auditor General of India, the state’s financial crisis is set to worsen with debt reaching Rs 3.73 lakh crore by 2024-25.

Government officials told IANS that state debt had increased by Rs 1 lakh crore over the past five years under the previous Congress government, largely due to populism.

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