Himachal Budget: No new tax, emphasis on ‘Green State’
Shimla: Chief Minister Sukhwinder Singh Sukhu today presented a tax-free budget of Rs 53,413 crore for 2023-24 to make Himachal a ‘Green State’ and ensure qualitative improvement in rural, health and education sectors.
Sukhu, who also holds the finance portfolio, announced 13 new schemes even as his government faces the daunting task of keeping the wheels of development moving with a debt burden of Rs 75,000 crore. The estimated fiscal deficit this year is around Rs 9,900 crore, which is 4.61 per cent of the Gross State Domestic Product (GSDP). The revenue deficit is estimated at Rs 4,704 crore as against Rs 6,170 crore in the previous financial year.
The burden of committed liabilities such as salaries and pensions (Rs 42) and loan and interest payments (Rs 20) is increasing every year and as a result, out of every Rs 100 available for development works, only Rs 29 is left. Thus, chief ministers explained the special measures taken by their government for resource generation, including water cess (expected to generate Rs 4,000 crore), cow cess of Rs 10 per bottle of liquor (expected to generate Rs 100 crore), expected) is included. , Auction of liquor shops, GST revenue enhancement project and check on illegal mining.
The economy is expected to grow at 6.4 per cent during 2022-23, which is 1.2 per cent lower than the previous year. The estimated Per Capita Income (PCI) is Rs 2.22 lakh, showing a growth of 10.4 per cent. “Due to the policies of the previous government, every citizen of the state has a debt of Rs 92,833 and a liability of Rs 10,000 crore for payment of dues to employees and pensioners,” Sukhu said.
He said, “We expect to create 90,000 jobs in both government and private sectors. Our endeavor is to encourage youth to set up their own startups and enterprises after upgrading their skills. Special attention is being paid to strengthen tourism infrastructure to generate employment opportunities.
He said that Kangra would be developed as the tourism capital of the state. A golf course, tourist village, ice and roller skating rinks will be built at Pong Dam, and shikaras, cruises and yachts will be launched. A zoo spread over 180 hectares will be set up at Bankhandi in Kangra at a cost of Rs 300 crore; He said that Rs 60 crore has been allocated in this budget.
The Chief Minister said that the honorarium of elected representatives of urban local bodies and Panchayati Raj institutions has been increased. Social security pension has also been increased. An increase of Rs 28 in MGNREGA wages will benefit nine lakh workers, while the daily wage has been increased from Rs 350 to Rs 375.
One thousand crore rupees for e-vehicles
The Chief Minister stated his priority to make Himachal a ‘Green Energy State’. Overall, 1,500 diesel buses of the State Transport Corporation will be replaced by electric buses and Rs 1,000 crore has been allocated for the purpose.
Pension for Women
Sukhu announced that a monthly pension of Rs 1,500, one of the 10 promises made during the assembly elections in the first phase, will be given to 2.31 lakh women who are currently getting Rs 1,000 and Rs 1,150.
The government is planning to set up a satellite township at Jathia Devi near Jubbarhatti airport in Shimla district to decongest the state capital and a detailed project report (DPR) worth Rs 1,373 crore has been sent to the Centre.
cow cess on liquor
A cow cess of Rs 10 per bottle will be levied on the sale of liquor. The move is expected to generate revenue of Rs 100 crore per year. There is also a proposal to increase the honorarium of representatives of panchayats and urban local bodies.
CM reached by electric car
The CM reached the Legislative Assembly, formerly known as the Council Chamber, which was opened by Lord Reading on August 27, 1925, in an electric car. Setting a new trend in his speech, the Chief Minister used poetic verses and quotes from eminent Hindi writers to explain in detail how the provisions of the budget would benefit the people.
Kangra will become tourism capital
The Chief Minister said that to promote tourism, Kangra district would be developed as a tourism capital with attractions like water sports, shikara and cruise. It will also have a zoo, a golf course and a tourist village. All the 12 districts will be connected with heliport facilities in the next one year.
Promotion for women, girls
20,000 girls studying in government schools across the state will be provided a subsidy of Rs 25,000 for the purchase of electric scooties. In addition, 231,000 women residents of the state will receive an assistance of Rs 1,500 per month; Cost of Rs 416 crore per annum to the exchequer.
The state is facing shortage of funds due to the policies of the previous government. In such a situation, emphasis will have to be laid on resource mobilization and reducing wasteful expenditure.
Sukhvinder Singh Sukhu, Chief Minister
Will check unemployment
The CM has scripted a new chapter in the history of all-around development. The Budget will also prove useful in removing unemployment and providing self-employment to the youth.
Pratibha Singh, State Cong president
Confusion on guarantees
The Budget is silent on the functional schemes of the BJP government. Some of our schemes have been renamed. There is confusion how the govt will fulfil its poll guarantees.
Jai Ram Thakur, Leader of Oppn
Bid to misguide people
The state government has taken credit for the Centre’s scheme. The Congress has come to power by misguiding people and the Budget is another attempt to misguide people.
Suresh Kashyap, State BJP president
No roadmap on agri crisis
Unemployment is a major issue, but it has not been addressed in the Budget. It talks of creating only 25,000 jobs, which is not sufficient. It also doesn’t lay out a roadmap to mitigate agrarian crisis.
Onkar Shad, CPM State Secretary
No mention of free power
There’s nothing much in the Budget. There is no mention of the promised 300 free units of electricity. There’s also no clarity on Rs 1,500 grant to women. It seems to be a Budget to misguide people.
Surjeet Thakur, AAP State president
Rs 8,828-cr allocation for education sector
The education sector has got an allocation of Rs 8,828 crore. There is a proposal to set up one Rajiv Gandhi Government Model Day Boarding school in every Assembly segment and Rs 300 crore has been allocated for the purpose. The school will have best sporting facilities, including a swimming pool. He added that a library would be set up in every senior secondary school, 10,000 meritorious students would be given tablets, 762 schools would be provided with smart classrooms, 17,510 regular primary teachers would be given tablets and 40,000 desks would be provided so that students did not have to sit on mats. The Budget allocated Rs 361 crore for technical education. The government proposes to improve the quality of technical education by adding robotics, block chain technology, cyber security, cloud computing, data analytics, artificial intelligence and machine learning courses.