Punjab releases salaries after a 6-day delay, Kiren Rijiju questions AAP campaign | India News – Times of India

CHANDIGARH/NEW DELHI: After a delay of six days, the salaries of Punjab government employees were finally disbursed on Wednesday, with the treasury releasing Rs 2,719 crore towards salaries and provident fund. Law minister Kiren Rijiju questioned Delhi CM Arvind Kejriwal’s ‘India World No 1’ campaign, citing news reports that the AAP government in Punjab was unable to clear the salaries of its employees for August due to paucity of funds.
The Punjab government also released Rs 600 crore as power subsidy to PSPCL and Rs 75 crore to Sugarfed.
Punjab finance minister Harpal Singh Cheema rejected reports of a liquidity crisis in the state, saying payments were delayed as the state was gearing up for revival of a special drawing facility as per the Consolidated Sinking Fund/Guarantee Redemption Fund guidelines by the Reserve Bank of India. He said the state’s financial health had been maintained well and the treasury released more than Rs 3,400 crore.
The minister said there was a “problem in processing” as the state government had recently decided to regularise 9,000 employees. “Punjab is the only state that has deposited Rs 2,000 crore in the consolidated sinking fund in the last five months,” he said.
Sukhchain Singh Khaira, convener of Punjab UT Employees and Pensioners’ Joint Front, complained that employees had to face problems due to the delay in disbursal of salaries. “We had to pay EMIs for loans and school fees in the first week of the month. Many employees had to borrow funds to fulfil committed liabilities. The state government should deliver on its promise of financial prudence because of which the government employees voted them in,” he said.
As per the budget estimates, the state’s monthly salary bill comes to Rs 2,597 crore and the end of the GST compensation has already raised concerns in the AAP government as only Rs 4,000 crore have been received as compensation for the first quarter this financial year. This is the first occasion during the current regime that salaries were delayed for six days.
Earlier in the day, replying to queries regarding the salary issue, Punjab CM Bhagwant Mann, who was in Hisar, said the government employees will get their salaries by evening. “We are disbursing not just salaries but also pending dues of sugarcane farmers. We have made new recruitments. The GST collection has gone up and the revenue will be spent on the welfare of people,” he said.
Rijiju tweeted: “Arvind Kejriwal wants to make India world No 1 but what has he done to Punjab within a year?” after a report in a newspaper said the Mann government hadn’t been able to pay salaries to employees for August, something which is done on the first day of the month.
Rijiju also accused Kejriwal of wasting revenues earned in the national capital on extravagant expenditures.
Although AAP and the Mann government have made big promises, they found themselves hamstrung by the resource crunch in the Punjab which has been in the red for decades.

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