Over 20,000 people sent in suggestions for Punjab budget, says state finance minister Harpal Cheema

Punjab finance minister Harpal Singh Cheema on Thursday said that more than 20,000 people have responded to Aam Aami Party (AAP) government’s invitation to send suggestions for the state budget.

Addressing mediapersons here, Cheema said, “People have played a participative role in making of the state budget. It was decided by our government to consult the public before preparation of the budget, and we have received overwhelming response from public.”

Majority responders male

Sharing the demographic data, he said, “At least 72.70% suggestions came from males and 19.89% from females. In the male category, the majority (45.42%) suggestions came from the 31 to 40 age group.”

The AAP government will present the state budget in June, for which a schedule will be announced shortly.

Out of 20,384 suggestions, 14,859 were received on Janta Portal, 5,025 via emails, and 500 letters and memorandums were received manually.

“People made suggestions very openly,” said the finance minister, adding that industrialists, trade associations, youngsters, women and representatives of all walks of life responded.

Demand for better education, jobs, ease of doing business

Two-thirds of the responders were youngsters, who raised the demand for better education with state-of-the-art academic facilities, more jobs and e-governance initiatives, while main the issues that came out of this exercise were creating new employment generation avenues, larger spending on education and health infra, improving power and industry infra for holistic development of the state.

More than 500 written memorandums were received from the industrialists, who demanded business friendly environment, ultra-modern infra, an end to inspector raj, and check on illegal practices, informed Cheema, adding that 20% responses were from women who demanded equal opportunities.

Cheema said the suggestions received on Janta budget portal which may be considered in future include restoration of old pension scheme, reduction of probation period from the current three years, equal work-equal pay, power and transport subsidies, benefits to single girl child in education, enhancement of budget for higher education, promotion of information technology-related industry, tax free zones or special economic zones near border cities to boost economic growth in these areas, establishment of liquor corporation and formation of sand and mining corporations and preference to residents of Punjab in all jobs.

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