Haryana racing ahead of Punjab
CHANDIGARH: With Haryana’s growth rate even crossing national growth rate, the State has left way behind its ‘big brother’ Punjab and if it sustains the momentum, poverty will come to an end in the state within next 6-7 years. Haryana’s economy is growing at 11.2% as against Punjab’s estimated 6.32%. Haryana’s current tax collection would cross Rs 12,000 crore at the end of this fiscal as against just Rs 16 crore in 1966, when the state was carved out of Punjab. In his reply after the general discussion on the budgetary estimates for year 2008-09 in the State Assembly, Haryana’s finance minister Birender Singh said if the momentum was sustained, poverty will be there no more within 6-7 years. He shot down his Punjab counterpart’s recent assertion that Gurgaon alone was the state’s growth engine. He said that by similar comparison, Ludhiana, Punjab’s industrial hub, was driving its growth. On Punjab’s poor financial condition, Birender even said if Central government and the RBI permits, Haryana can lend Rs 500 to Rs 1,000 crore to the neighbouring state. Singh informed the state had kept a provision of Rs 1,550 crore in the wake of hike proposed in the sixth pay commission report. Hailing the loan waiver scheme for farmers announced in the Union Budget recently, Singh said the state government is considering to formulate a scheme to relieve the farmers from the burden of loans taken from commission agents, avoiding any loss to the agents at the same time. He suggested that while farmers were given MSP for their crops, they should be given ‘renumerative price’ and other facilities.