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Nothing for Punjab in Budget 2012-13: SAD MP Gujral

New Delhi, Tue, 27 Mar 2012 ANI

New Delhi, Mar.27 (ANI): Rajya Sabha Member of Parliament and Shiromani Akali Dal leader Naresh Gujral on Tuesday said that the Budget proposals for fiscal 2012-13 as spelt out by Finance Minister Pranab Mukherjee, had done nothing for his home state of Punjab.

In a speech delivered in the Rajya Sabha on Tuesday, Gujral said that while he welcomed the government's announcement to provide Rs. 8000 crore to West Bengal, "yet nothing has been done for Punjab."

"We have a huge debt on our head primarily due to the fact that we fought a proxy war with Pakistan and the terrorism which the state had to encounter for over a decade completely destroyed our economy. Thereafter, the Centre gave huge tax concessions to our neighbouring states and as a result, no industry came to Punjab."

He said that the UPA-II regime's myopic policies was responsible for sluggish growth in the state over the years.

Commenting on the Food Security Act, Gujral said while he welcomed it, "the critical question remains that where will the food come from?"

He said that Punjab has been feeding the nation even at the cost of seriously damaging its water table.

"We have been asking for a generous one time grant from the Centre to revamp and renew our decaying canal system which is over a century old. We hope that the Hon. Finance Minister would be considerate towards this request. I would say that the Central government should give tax concessions on setting up new industry to 50 most backward and sensitive border districts in the country rather than extending it to an entire State because past experience has shown that this serves no useful purpose," he said.

"Punjab has at least 2 sensitive border districts where our youth has fallen victims to drug abuse due to the lack of employment opportunities coupled with Pakistan pushing in cheap drugs. Since the industry fears going to border areas, I would request the Hon. Finance Minister to consider granting tax free status to these districts in the national interest," he added.

"We hope that the Finance Minister will do justice to Punjab expeditiously and not alienate this sensitive border State where Pakistan is once again taking an undue interest," he concluded. (ANI)

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