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Last Updated : Jan 03, 2019 10:42 PM IST | Source: PTI

Narendra Modi asks Punjab govt to speed up work on central schemes

He added that the NDA government has initiated several schemes for Gurdaspur and the rest of Punjab during the past four years.

Accusing the Punjab government of "going slow" in implementing central schemes, Prime Minister Narendra Modi asked the Amarinder Singh-led dispensation to "wake up and complete the people-friendly projects in time".

Addressing a rally organised by the SAD-BJP combine here, the prime minister said, "The Punjab government is going slow on smart city projects of Amritsar, Ludhiana and Jalandhar and AMRUT schemes … the government should wake up and complete the people friendly projects in time."

He added that the NDA government has initiated several schemes for Gurdaspur and the rest of Punjab during the past four years.

Saying that the water of the river Ravi has been flowing into Pakistan for decades without being used by Punjab and Jammu and Kashmir, he claimed, "The waste of natural resource is not acceptable to the NDA."

He added that the Centre had cleared the Shahpurkandi dam project four months ago to tap the water resource.

In the next three to four years, the project will be completed, and will help irrigate thousands of hectares of land in Gurdaspur and other parts of Punjab, and Jammu and Kasmir, Modi asserted.

Punjab will be able to generate over 200 MW electricity from the Shahpurkandi project, he said.

The Centre has earmarked a budget of Rs 800 crore for the realignment of the Rajasthan and the Sirhind feeder canals, which will help in irrigating nearly 1.75 lakh hectares of land, the prime minister said.

He said that the NDA government is setting up modern godowns, cold storage and food processing units in the state.

A mega food park is being set up in Fazilka, Modi said, adding that approval has been given to set up similar parks in Ludhiana and Kapurthala.

He listed several other initiatives of the NDA, including setting up of the AIIMS at Bathinda, for the development of Punjab.

Modi said the Centre was simplifying the Goods and Services Tax (GST), and materials used for community kitchens in shrines were being excluded from the purview of the GST.

"Now 99 percent of the materials used for community kitchens in shrines is in the tax slab of below 18 percent," he added.

Notwithstanding criticism from the opposition over the GST, Modi said it has brought transparency to the taxation system. "As we are getting suggestions, the government is trying to simplify and make the GST more effective," he said.

"Now, you know how much tax you are paying on items like soap, shoes etc. Earlier, it was not visible, though it was charged... It is the transparent system which is the base of new India," the prime minister said.

"We are in favour of a satisfactory rate of GST on items and processes related to construction of houses. An agreement on this could not be reached in the last meeting of the GST Council," he said, hoping that a decision would be arrived at soon.

Modi further said that efforts were being made to simplify the GST for traders, businessmen and small entrepreneurs for the last one and half years.

"We have been requesting the GST Council that the threshold limit for filing GST (returns) should be hiked from a turnover of Rs 20 lakh to Rs 75 lakh so that they (small businesses) get relief from it," he said at the rally.

He further said that the government had taken a decision Wednesday which would benefit small traders and exporters.

"Under the pre and post shipment rupee credit, there is a relief of three per cent for the manufacturing sector. But there has been a demand to extend this benefit to merchant exporters also. The government has accepted this demand and this decision will benefit small traders connected with exports to the tune of about Rs 600 crore. It will also benefit the small traders and the MSME sector of Punjab," Modi said.

Earlier, striking a chord with the people of Gurdaspur, which until a year ago, was represented by the late BJP MP Vinod Khanna, the PM recalled the efforts taken by the actor-turned-politician for the development of the area.

"After Vinod Khanna's demise, this is my first visit to Gurdaspur," he said.

"Vinod Khanna made efforts for progress of this place. He wanted to see modern and prosperous Gurdaspur, we have to realise his dream," he added.

Notably, the Congress which came to power in Punjab in 2017, also won the Gurdaspur Lok Sabha seat last year in the by-polls necessitated by Khanna's demise.

The NDA government is making constant efforts for the progress of Gurdaspur and the entire Punjab, Modi said.

Under the guidance of former chief minister Parkash Singh Badal, the SAD-BJP are working shoulder-to-shoulder for the prosperity and progress of the state, he added.

Modi said the Centre has drawn up mega plans to commemorate the 550th birth anniversary of Guru Nanak Dev this year by organising programmes in the state capitals of the country and other parts of the world.

"The Centre has decided that the message of Guru Nanak Dev— 'Naam Japo (focus of God), Kirat Karo (honest living) and Vand Chakko (sharing with others) will be taken to every corner of the world," he said.
First Published on Jan 3, 2019 10:19 pm
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