08 March, 2021

New Pinch

A crashing economy is the latest bugbear of this north Indian foodgrain bowl

New Pinch

After having been singed in the frying pan of politics, courtesy its recent electoral debacle in Punjab, the Shiromani Akali Dal-Bharatiya Janata Party state government is now being slow-roasted over the fire of economic mess. As a result, it is looking up to Montek Singh Ahluwalia and other noted fiscal management experts in Delhi to pull it out from the worst ever fiscal distortions which have battered the economy of Punjab. This foodgrain bowl now leads the country not in per capita income but in per capita debt with the total debt of the state government growing rapidly from Rs 24,022 crore since the end of 1997-98 financial year.

The implications of the current crisis are rather grave. Chief minister Parkash Badal's unending sessions with experts, bureaucrats and colleagues to pull the state out of the red are yet to yield a redemptive formula.

Instead of pressing for a rollback of the recently hiked diesel price, the sad-bjp government in the state has doubled the sales tax on this important agricultural input to the...

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