" --Indo-Asian News Service"
Chandigarh, Sep 5 - With union Finance Minister Arun Jaitley categorically rejecting higher financial assistance to Punjab and arguing that its devolution was already high, the state government's claims stand exposed, opposition Congress party said Friday.

Punjab Congress president Partap Singh Bajwa in a statement here said the tall claims of the Parkash Singh Badal government that the NDA government at the centre would liberally help Punjab, and that the era of alleged discrimination by the earlier UPA government was over, have fallen flat.

Citing a letter from Arun Jaitley to the Punjab government, Bajwa said even Jaitley has stated that Punjab was getting more than its share of central assistance from the earlier (United Progressive Alliance) government, especially during the period from 2010-15.

The allocation of aggregate plan resources of Punjab has been increasing over the years from Rs.11,520 crore in 2011-12 to Rs.16,125 in 2013-14. The central assistance of Rs.4,606 has been provided to Punjab during 2013-14 towards plan and non-plan grants, including agency transfers, Jaitley's letter to the Punjab government said, according to Bajwa.

Besides, central taxes amounting to Rs.4,431.47 crore have been devolved to the state during 2013-14 and additional central assistance of Rs.887 crore has been approved in March 2014 for addressing waterlogging problems in the southwest districts, of which Rs.100 crore has already been released, the letter said.

Bajwa said Jaitley's letter even suggested rationalisation of power subsidy. This in essence amounted to withdrawal of free power to the farm sector, Bajwa said.

This has vindicated our stand that the UPA government headed by Manmohan Singh had always gone out of the way in the matter of allocation of financial assistance to Punjab while the Badal government all along was alleging discrimination, Bajwa said.

Badal and his son and Deputy Chief Minister Sukhbir Singh Badal had been selling the dream to the people that Punjab would get truckloads of money after the change in regime at the Centre, ending this discrimination, Bajwa said.

They should tell the people as was to why they were misleading them and where all those trucks have been diverted. They should apologise to the people for misleading them all along, the Congress leader said.

--Indo-Asian News Service

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