Punjab Finance Minister Manpreet Singh Badal arrives at the Assembly with the Budget papers.
Punjab’s Congress government Friday presented its fourth budget with an outlay of Rs 1.54 lakh crore, and a fiscal deficit of Rs 18,827.73 crore.
While not imposing any new tax to mop up resources, Finance Minister Manpreet Singh Badal showered largesse on state government employees by announcing implementation of sixth pay commission and six per cent Dearness Allowance (DA).
In a move intended to offer more employment opportunities to young people, the goverment also reduced retirement age of its staffers from 60 to 58 years.
The move reverses a decision taken by the SAD-BJP government in 2009 to povide an extension in retirement age due to paucity of funds.
Finance Minister Manpreet Singh Badal presented the budget in absence of SAD-BJP MLAs, who had gheraoed his house before the presentation of the budget and faced a Privilege Motion later.
“Inspired of the daunting challenges before us, we have been able to maintain the fiscal deficit at 2.61 per cent in 2017-18 and 3.08 per cent in 2018-19 as against the budget estimates of 4.96 per cent and 3.81 per cent for respective years,” Manpreet said.
Announcing the decision on retirement age, Manpreet told the House that the move would open employment evenues for the youth in the state and the government would be able to get a younger and talented workforce from the “computer-savvy generation”.
Addressing the media later, he said that those who are 59 years and above would retire on March 31 and those who are 58-years-old will retire on September 1.
He said the number of employees who will be affected by this move was yet to worked out, but the annual retrition rate will be 5 to 6 per cent of the total employees.
According to the minister, 3.50 lakh government employees are working in the state departments at present.