<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Opposition AAP and Akalis today picked holes in Punjab government’s maiden budget, claiming it lacked “sufficient” funds for farm debt waiver and improving health and education sectors. Participating in the general discussion on the budget estimates for 2017-17 in the Assembly here today, Leader of Opposition and AAP MLA H S Phoolka rejected the state budget and said the Congress government’s intentions on fulfilling poll promises stood exposed with meagre funds allocated for essential sectors. “Government hospitals are in very bad condition and several seats of doctors are still vacant. Just Rs 266 crore has been provided as capital expenditure on health sector,” he said. Lashing out at the treasury benches for deficient funds for education, Phoolka said only nine per cent of state’s total budget was allocated for education as against 15 per cent in Haryana and 17 per cent in Himachal Pradesh. “Congress had promised 6 per cent of Gross State Domestic Product (GSDP) as funds for education which was not fulfilled,” he said. Taking on the state government on debt waiver issue, the AAP MLA said only Rs 1,500 crore has been provided for debt waiver while the requirement for the same was estimated to be Rs 21,000 crore. The budget also lacked provisions for giving promised jobs despite 1.75 lakh seats being vacant in government departments, he said. Phoolka took a jibe at the government for not making any efforts to raise additional resources to fund expenditure. The Leader of Opposition also suggested dismantling of sand and liquor mafia by giving the job of liquor sale and sand distribution to state-owned corporation for generating more revenue. Akali MLA and former finance minister Parminder Singh Dhindsa defended the previous government on the cash credit limit issue. The session witnessed war of words between the Opposition and treasury benches on many occasions. The speaker had to intervene many a times to calm the situation. The Congress government in Punjab that came to power in March had presented its maiden budget for 2017-18 yesterday, with a focus on reducing the crushing debt burden and restoring fiscal stability. Finance Minister Manpreet Singh Badal proposed the budget of Rs 1,18,237.90 crore, with an emphasis on education and social sectors. He also proposed an outlay of Rs 1,500 crore for waiving the debt of distressed farmers of the state. For the agriculture sector, the minister proposed to increase allocation by 65.77 per cent to Rs 10,580.99 crore in 2017-18.(This article has not been edited by DNA’s editorial team and is auto-generated from an agency feed.)

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