Budget Session

No new taxes, Himachal CM tables Rs 50,192 crore Budget

Succour for every section | Focus on women’s schemes

Shimla, March 6

With a sharp decline in revenue on account of the pandemic, Himachal Pradesh CM Jai Ram Thakur tried to provide succour to every section, even if in small measure, as he tabled a Rs 50,192 crore Budget for the year 2021-22 today, not imposing any new taxes.

Thakur, who holds the Finance portfolio, delivered an almost three-hour Budget speech, laced with several Urdu couplets. “Despite Covid severely impacting revenue, I have tried to provide relief to every sector, the thrust being on women welfare and empowerment and extending the social security net to the maximum number of people with 40,000 beneficiaries to be added next year,” he said. The Budget has 12 new schemes, including a Rs 1,000 monthly social security pension for women above 65 year of age and the shagun scheme under which a sum of Rs 31,000 will be provided at the time of marriage to SC/ ST and OBC girls belonging to families subsisting below the poverty line (BPL).There is a focus on providing quality education and healthcare with an 11 per cent rise in the Health sector budget at Rs 3,016 crore.

3-hour speech laced with Urdu couplets

Despite elections to the four municipal corporations, the CM desisted from making any big announcement to woo the voters, a reflection of the grim financial scenario. The debt trap has touched Rs 60,500 crore. The fiscal deficit has been pegged at Rs 7,789 crore. Revenue receipts are estimated at Rs 37,028 crore while revenue expenditure has been pegged at Rs 38,491 crore. The total revenue deficit is estimated at Rs 1,463 crore and the fiscal deficit projected at Rs 7,789 crore, which is 4.5 per cent of the Gross State Domestic Product (GSDP).

There has been a mere increase of a little over 2 per cent over last year’s Budget of Rs 49,131 crore. With a huge liability on account of salaries, pensions and loan repayment, a mere Rs 43.94 of every Rs 100 would be spent on development works. — TNS

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