THE people of Punjab may be known for their lavish lifestyle and high spending power but the state itself lags behind Haryana and Chandi-garh as far as per capita income is concerned.
The per capita income of Punjab for the year 2005-06 stood at Rs 28,605 against Haryana's per capita income of Rs 29,887 and Chandi-garh's Rs 67,910 for the same year.
According to the Central Statistical Organisation’s data, at constant 1999-2000 prices, the per capita income of Punjab was Rs 26,975 in 2003-04 and Rs 27,873 in 2004-05.
On the other hand, Haryana’s per capita income improved from Rs 26,353 in 2003-04 to Rs 28,119 in 2004-05. Similarly, the per capita income of Chandigarh, which is higher than Punjab and Haryana, grew from Rs 56,197 in 2003-04 to Rs 61,723 in 2004-05.
Experts ascribe the slow growth in per capita in Punjab to sluggishness in the agriculture sector, on which 65 per cent of the state's popula-tion depends for earning their livelihood. The growth rate in primary sector of the state, comprising agriculture and allied sectors, stood at 1.86 per cent in 2005-06 against 2.17 per cent in 2004-05.
“The stagnation in the agriculture sector has been the prime reason behind the slow growth in per capita income,” said economist SS Johal. The low investment by the state government in agriculture is another reason for Punjab's poor show.
The state government's expenditure on agriculture and allied sectors has declined from 4.13 per cent of total plan expenditure in 2003-04 to 2.49 per cent in 2006-07.
According to projections of the Planning Commission, Punjab will be the least growing state in the country during the 11th Five-Year Plan, which had also been pointed out by state finance minister Manpreet Singh Badal during the presentation of the state budget this year.