Punjab finance minister Harpal Singh Cheema on Thursday said the AAP-led government will not impose any fresh tax in the upcoming state budget for 2022-23.
Addressing the media, Cheema also informed that his department has received various suggestions for the upcoming state budget and added that the government will incorporate public opinions while preparing the budget.
"The Punjab government will not impose any new tax on people," said Cheema.
He expressed confidence that the tax collection of the state would rise.
The state assembly in March had passed a vote-on-account for the first three months –- April till June -- of the financial year 2022-23.
About the goods services tax (GST) compensation, Cheema said the state government wanted the compensation of Rs 16,000 crore should continue beyond 2022.
"We have written a letter in this regard and we are also in touch with the Centre on this issue. This compensation should continue," said Cheema.
He further said that he would raise this issue in the next GST Council meeting.
Under the GST law, states were guaranteed to be compensated bi-monthly for any loss of revenue in the first five years of GST implementation from July 1, 2017. The five-year period ends in June 2022.
Many states have already requested extension of the compensation mechanism under the GST beyond June 2022.
The Centre has already announced in the FY23 budget that it will not extend the GST compensation beyond June 2022.
The state government had launched a portal here for seeking suggestions from the public for the budget.
Sharing details about suggestions, Cheema said the industry sought better infrastructure, business-friendly environment, elimination of 'inspector raj' and simplification of rules for setting up an industry.
A number of women has suggested reforms in basic education and also shared views on healthcare issues.
Farmers have sought an increase in their income, bringing new technology in the farming sector while youth suggested creation of more job opportunities, e-governance and more libraries in the state.
A large number of people gave suggestions on infrastructure, improvement in the power sector, reducing debt burden and raising state resources.
"From May 2-10, we received 20,000 responses through the portal and also in writing. Besides, we received 500 memorandums for the state budget," said Cheema who also visited several districts, including Mandi Gobindgarh, Sangrur, Ludhiana, Bathinda Jalandhar, Amritsar, Batala and Mohali to seek opinions of people on the budget.
He said that more than 4,000 suggestions on the budget came from women.
The maximum number of suggestions came from Ludhiana (10.61 per cent), followed by Patiala (10 per cent), Fazilka (8 per cent) and Bathinda (6 per cent), he said.
Cheema also said that all the "guarantees" promised by the Aam Aadmi Party before the assembly election would be honoured.
"People gave us the mandate for five years and all the guarantees will be honoured in five years," he added.