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Posted at: Feb 10, 2019, 6:51 AM; last updated: Feb 10, 2019, 3:32 PM (IST)

HP Budget focuses on rural populace

No new taxes, 15 schemes proposed

Pratibha Chauhan
Tribune News Service
Shimla, February 9

Chief Minister Jai Ram Thakur today presented a populist budget of Rs 44,387 crore for financial year 2019-20 as he sought to woo farmers and rural populace with an eye on the Lok Sabha polls.

Presenting a tax-free budget in his three-hour speech in Hindi, the Chief Minister outlined an increase of 7 per cent as against last year’s Rs 41,439 crore. The Annual Plan 2019-20 has been pegged at Rs 7,100 crore and the deficit will be met through borrowings of Rs 5,069 crore.

The shadow of the poor fiscal health of the state was more than evident as Thakur confined himself to announcing a mere 15 new schemes, as compared to 30 announced last year. This despite the fact that Thakur is faced with the challenging task of ensuring that the BJP retains all four Lok Sabha seats the party won in 2014.

The fiscal deficit of Rs 7,352 crore reflects on the poor financial health of the state, which has very limited revenue generating areas. “It will be wrong to say that we have tried to provide succour to the people with an eye on the polls, as our only objective is good governance and delivery,” he remarked.

Most of the new schemes are in the farm, animal husbandry, rural and social sectors. A special emphasis has been laid on schemes for destitute women, widows, girl child, daily-wagers and employees.

Rs 44,388 crore outlay up by 7% for 2019-20 

Rs 33,747 crore Estimated revenue receipts

Rs 36,089 croreLikely expenditure

Rs 7,352 croreFiscal deficit

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