17 March 2016 Current Affairs: Punjab Finance Minister, Parminder Singh Dhindsa on 15 March 2016 presented the Annual State Budget 2016-17 in the legislative assembly. The size of budget is 86 thousand 387 crore rupees.The tax free budget focuses on social farmers with agriculture, welfare sector, youth and women as the priority areas.The revenue deficit in the financial year 2015-16 (RE) stood at 1.85 percent of Gross State Domestic Product (GSDP), whereas for the year 2016-17 (BE) it has been estimated at 1.76 percent of GSDP.On the other hand, fiscal deficit in the financial year 2015-16 (RE) stood at 2.99 percent of GSDP, whereas for the year 2016-17 (BE) it has been estimated at 2.88 percent of GSDP.Women’s Empowerment:Swasth Kanya Yojna: Provide free school bags containing stationery items to girl students. Bags will contain “benefit eligibility card” showing benefits being provided to girls under various schemes.Mai Bhago Women Empowerment Scheme: Loan at subsidized rate of 5% per annum will be provided to women members to establish small business enterprises.Special women patrolling teams will be created.Women safety application, Shakti will be launched.Youth.200 skill development centres will be opened for training in rural areas.Employability allowance of 1000 rupees per month will be provided.Interest free education loan up to 5 lakh rupees for the duration of the course to EWS.Financial Assistance will be provided to Start-ups.Farmers: Interest free crop loan of 50000 rupees per crop to small and marginal farmers having land holding up to 5 acres.Education 400 middle Schools will be upgraded to High Schools.400 High Schools will be upgraded to Senior Secondary Schools.An education channel, Vidya TV will be started.Power.1.65 lac tube well connections will be provided to various categories of AP applicants to whom demand notices have been issued. Tube well connections on priority to all those farmers who have applied for the same and have land holding below 2.5 acre.HealthBhagat Puran Singh Sehat Bima Yojana will be launched for providing health insurance cover of 50000 rupees per annum to 10 lakh rupees to farmers and 2 lakh rupees construction workers & small traders in the year 2016-17.Heritage and Culture For promoting Punjabi language and culture, entertainments tax on cultural and theatre shows will be abolished.Mukh Mantri Tirath Darshan Yatra will be launched.350th Birth Anniversary of Sri Guru Gobind Singh Ji will be celebrated at an expense of 50 crore rupees.Preservation of Biodiversity:Inami Bagh will be acquired and declared as a National Biodiversity Heritage site, first of its kind in the state
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