Shimla, March 17
The BJP on Friday termed the Himachal Pradesh budget "directionless" with the Leader of Opposition in the Assembly Jai Ram Thakur accusing the Congress government of changing the names of already existing welfare schemes to "mislead" the people.
However, the ruling Congress claimed the budget was a new chapter in the history of the all-round development of the state.
Himachal Pradesh Chief Minister Sukhvinder Singh Sukhu on Friday presented the budget for 2023-24 with a total outlay of Rs 53,413 crore, announcing women's pension, sops for electric vehicles, cow cess on liquor and various other initiatives to become a green state by 2026.
In its maiden budget, the Congress-led government announced the first-of-its-kind cow cess of Rs 10 on the sale of each bottle of liquor, even as it made a stride to fulfil various election promises with announcements like a fixed monthly payment for women and subsidies on electric two-wheelers.
Thakur claimed that even though the Union government was giving substantial subsidies on green energy projects and electric vehicles, there was no clarity in the budget about the state's contribution towards green energy.
Moreover, there was no mention of Standard Operating Procedures (SOPs) for implementing the old pension system, the former chief minister said.
Thakur alleged that the names of already existing schemes have been changed to "mislead" the people. The Name of Atal Adarsh Vidyalaya has been changed to Rajiv Gandhi Day Boarding School scheme, he claimed.
"The budget is silent on schemes like Himcare, Sahara, Shagun, Mukhya Mantri Kanya Yojna, Grihini Suvidha Yojna and Nai Rahen Nai Manzilen started by the previous BJP government. Also, there is no mention of budgetary provisions for the old schemes," Thakur said.
Claiming that only 29 per cent of funds have been allocated for developmental works, he asked how the state government would fund such projects.
The Congress had promised Rs 1,500 per month to all women in the age group of 18 to 60 years but its government announced to give it to 2.31 lakh women in the state who were already getting a pension of about Rs 1,000. Also, it is not clear whether or not this Rs 1,500 would be above the pension amount they already get, the BJP leader said.
Himachal Pradesh BJP chief Suresh Kashyap claimed the budget was "sans vision and directionless" and accused the Congress government of trying to grab the credit for schemes launched by the Centre.
Meanwhile, the Congress state president Pratibha Singh said this budget will write a new chapter in the state's development. Every section has been taken care of in the budget. It will be instrumental in resolving the issue of unemployment and providing self-employment to the youth, she said.
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