CM moots plan to up education spend
Punjab Chief Minister Amarinder Singh mooted a proposal on Wednesday to cut down the budget of all other departments by 5% each, in order to arrange additional revenue for education, which he described as “critical for the State’s development and progress”. The initiative, the Chief Minister said, would help raise an additional ₹887 crore for education, whose budgetary allocation currently stands at 14% of the total outlay at ₹2,916 crore. The additional budget for education would raise the total to ₹,3803 crore, making it 21% of the overall outlay. “Education is the most vital engine of the State’s growth and the Congress government in Punjab would take all possible steps to improve the education system, including 5% reduction in the budgetary allocation for other departments, if needed, to raise its investment in education,” Mr. Singh said. The Chief Minister was speaking at the Agri Conclave 18, hosted by a private TV channel here, an official release said. Speaking at the event, he reiterated his stand on water sharing, saying Punjab did not have sufficient water to share with other States, given the criticality of the groundwater levels. Major water crisisDescribing the declining water levels and the cropping pattern in the State as “critical issues”, Mr. Singh said Punjab was grappling with a major water crisis. Recalling that he had given water to Rajasthan during drought period in his previous tenure, he pointed out that situation had changed drastically since then, with melting glaciers adding to Punjab’s water woes.