New Delhi: Punjab Finance Minister Harpal Singh Cheema on Friday tabled the state’s budget for 2023-24 in the assembly. It is the first full budget of the AAP government.
The Punjab government will soon come out with a new agriculture policy for which a committee of experts has been formed, he informed.
After coming to power in March 2022, the AAP government first passed a vote-on account on March 22 and then it presented its budget in June for the remaining part of the year.
Addressing the Punjab assembly in Chandigarh, Harpal Cheema said education and health sectors are among the priority sectors for the government, news agency PTI reported.
For the health sector, he said 10.50 lakh people have been treated in ‘Aam Aadmi Clinics’ in the state so far. He also mentioned that 26,797 jobs have been given so far by the Bhagwant Mann government.
The Punjab government has proposed an allocation of Rs 1,000 crore for crop diversification, to start a crop insurance scheme, as per the Finance Minister.
The Budget session in Punjab has recently seen unruly scenes after AAP ministers and Congress MLAs exchanged heated arguments over the issue of pruning of security cover of Punjabi singer Sidhu Moosewala who was brutally murdered last year.
Following a war of words with the Aam Aadmi Party members, the Congress MLAs walked out of the House on Thursday.
Shubhdeep Singh Sidhu, popularly known as Sidhu Moosewala, was shot dead in Punjab’s Mansa district on May 29 last year.
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Notably, the Punjab Assembly on Thursday passed a resolution recommending that the AAP government ask the Centre to put a stop to the “looting” of people by exorbitantly priced medicines. Raising the matter in the ongoing budget session of the Punjab Vidhan Sabha, a section of MLAs suggested capping of profit margins on medicines, while many others, mainly from the opposition, demanded strengthening of the government health sector in the state.
As he moved the resolution in the House, AAP MLA from Chamkaur Sahib, Dr Charanjit Singh, said exorbitant rates of medicines were robbing people of their money forcing many people to sell their properties to afford costly medicines, PTI reported.
Not only chemists, but several known private hospitals are selling medicines at higher prices than MRP, he said, further mentioning that the matter was not peculiar to Punjab, but afflicts the whole country.
He said government doctors were not recommending generic medicines and urged the government to make it incumbent on them to prescribe generic medicines to patients.
He further said it should also be made mandatory that only salt of medicines should be prescribed without any mention of a drug company.