Harpal Singh Cheema, the finance minister for Punjab, told the assembly on Wednesday that the state government would honour its “guarantee” to provide women with Rs 1,000. His remarks followed accusations by the opposition parties that the Bhagwant Mann administration had broken its pre-poll pledge to provide women in the state with Rs 1,000 per month.

In response to concerns expressed by MLAs during a state budget debate, Cheema declared that the state administration had delivered on four of the five “guarantees,” which included free energy and the establishment of “aam aadmi clinics.

“In less than two years, we fulfilled four of the five promises. Regarding women, there is one outstanding guarantee. The state minister of finance informed the House, “I am saying this in the House with full responsibility that this guarantee will also be fulfilled.”

Attacking the opposition Congress MLAs, Cheema claimed that because these four “guarantees” pertain to the state’s common people, they were unaware of their fulfilment.

He asserted that the majority of Congress party MLAs are “elite,” meaning they don’t send their kids to government schools or visit the “aam aadmi clinic.”

Cheema stated, “On the contrary, there was an 11.5% increase in funds for education,” refuting the opposition’s assertions that the budgeted allocation for the education sector has declined.

He stated that no state-owned corporation had taken out a loan in response to a question from the opposition. But according to Cheema, a total of Rs 9,530 crore was used during the previous Congress administration, including Rs 5,450 crore through the Rural Development Board and Rs 4,090 crore through the Mandi Board.

Only Rs 4,400 crore of these funds, which were intended for agriculture loan waiver, were waived by the previous administration, he claimed.

According to Cheema, the AAP government settled the outstanding debt of the last Congress administration, totaling Rs 6,279 crore.

He further told the House that as of January 1, 2016, the Judicial Pay Commission and UGC scales have been adopted by the state administration.

The Union government has not yet released the Rs 8,000 crore allocated for the National Health Mission, Rural Development Fund, Mandi Development Fund, and Special Assistance to State for Capital Investment, according to the Punjab Finance Minister.

According to him, the state has equal authority over the union treasury because all citizens of the state contribute equally to it.

Regarding the regularisation of teachers, Cheema stated that the state government had raised their pay from Rs 5,000 to Rs 6,000 per month to Rs 25,000.

Later, the Punjab Appropriation (No. 3) Bill 2024, which Cheema had introduced in the assembly, was approved by the House.