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Posted at: Feb 10, 2019, 7:24 AM; last updated: Feb 10, 2019, 7:28 AM (IST)HIMACHAL BUDGET 2019-20

Sop opera ahead of Lok Sabha election

CM presents tax-free Budget of Rs 44,387cr | 4% DA for staff, hike in pension | Fiscal deficit pegged at Rs 7,352 cr

More in the kitty

  • Net borrowing will be Rs 5,069 crore
  • Rs 2 as milk procurement price
  • Subsidy for buying cows, anti-hail nets, polyhouses
  • HIke in honorarium for panchayat representatives
  • Installation of water filters in all schools
  • 10% quota for the poor of general category

Pratibha Chauhan

Tribune News Service

Shimla, February 9

Faced with the daunting task of presenting a populist Budget in the election year, Chief Minister Jai Ram Thakur today presented a tax-free Budget of Rs 44,387 crore for 2019-20 even as he restricted himself to announcing only 15 schemes as compared to 30 in last year’s Budget.

Presenting his second one, Thakur’s speech was laced with 13 Urdu couplets and a quote of former Prime Minister Atal Bihari Vajpayee as state BJP president Satpal Singh Satti, Mandi MP Ramswaroop Sharma and many other party leaders were present in the VIP gallery in the Vidhan Sabha.

There is a hike of 7 per cent in the Budget as compared to last year’s of Rs 41,439 crore. The Annual Plan 2019-20 has been pegged at Rs 7,100 crore while the fiscal deficit of Rs 7,352 crore will be met through borrowings of Rs 5,069 crore. The Budget estimates show that the state remains dependent on Central and externally aided projects for most of its schemes.

With the revenue receipts being Rs 33,747 crore and expenditure pegged at Rs 36,089 crore, there is a revenue deficit of Rs 2,342 crore. The burden of meeting the liability of salaries of over 2.25 lakh employees and pension of retirees is clearly visible as of every Rs 100, Rs 42.84 will go for this component. With the debt trap touching almost Rs 50,000 crore, a sum of Rs 11.60 of every Rs 100 will be spent on interest and loan repayment. This leaves Rs 39.46 of every Rs 100 for development works.

The focus of the Budget remains on the farm sector, women, marginalised sections of society and employees. The new schemes, announced by the CM, include the Loktantra Prahari Samman Rashi, an annual grant of Rs 11,000 to those arrested under MISA during emergency, even though the number of such persons is below 100 in the state. The allocation under MLA priority schemes in Nabard has gone up from Rs 90 crore to Rs 105 crore. The MLA Local Area Development Fund too has been hiked from Rs 1.25 crore to Rs 1.50 crore annually and discretionary grant up from Rs 5 lakh to Rs 7 lakh.

The CM announced a dearness allowance of 4 per cent to employees and pensioners, filling of 20,000 functional posts in various departments, increase in social security pension from Rs 750 to Rs 850 and old age pension from Rs 1,300 to Rs 1,500, increase in daily wages from Rs 225 to Rs 250.

He also announced an increase in honorarium being given to representatives of panchayati raj institutions and local bodies.

The new schemes include 50 per cent subsidy on barbed wire and chain link for crop protection, 50 per cent subsidy on purchase of indigenous cows and 85 per cent on purchase of goats, Rs 150 crore Nutan Polyhouse Scheme, Rs 20 crore for anti-hail nets, an additional one refill of LPG cylinder, increase of Rs 2 per litre on sale of milk, 100 trout units and carp fish ponds, Shiv Dham at Mandi, 15 new Atal Adarsh Vidya Kendras and installation of water filters in all schools.



  • Enhancement in crop insurance from Rs 1.50 lakh to Rs 3 lakh
  • Reduction in electricity charges for farmers from Re 1 to 75 paisa per unit
  • Mushroom Development Project - Rs 423 crore
  • 50 per cent subsidy on tractors, power tillers, weeders 
  • 50 per cent subsidy for installing barbed wire and chain link fence around farms as protection against wild animals.
  • Jal Se Krishi ko Bal - Rs 50 cr 
  • Sinchai Yojana- Rs 30 cr 

  • Widows below 45 years will get reservation in nursing and ITIs. 
  • Widows getting social security pension will be covered under HIMCARE
  • After Care Homes at Mashobra, Tutikandi and Arki for children who attain age of 18 in the various ashrams 
  • Flexi ITI scheme for 1,600 students living in ashrams 
  • Social security pension up from Rs 750 to Rs 850 and Rs 1,500 for those up to 80 yrs 

  • 15 new Atal Adarsh Vidya Kendras
  • CV Raman Virtual Classroom Yojna to be started in 10 colleges in first phase
  • Atal Nirmal Jal Yojna where water filters will be installed in all schools
  • Khel Se Swasthya Yojana – Kabaddi, judo and wrestling mats in 50 schools, colleges 
  • Financial benefits on par with regular teachers for PTA and Para teachers 

  • Sahara scheme : Rs 2,000 monthly to people suffering from serious ailments 
  • Increase in allowance of HIV-infected persons to Rs 1,500 
  • Trauma Centres between Kalka-Shimla and Baddi-Barotiwala 
  • Uniform grant under Janani Surakshan Yojan to Rs 1,100
  • Cochlear Implant Centres at medical college in Shimla, Tanda and Ner Chowk
  • Mobile Diagnostic Vans for detection of cervical and breast cancer 

  • Shiv Dham to be set up at Mandi
  • Pong Area Development Board to be set up 
  • New Tourism Policy and master plan for promoting eco tourism 
  • Tourism Infrastructure Development Project – Rs 1,892 crore


It’s a wooing act

It is an election Budget to woo the electorate with an eye on the Lok Sabha poll. When we were in power, the BJP used to criticise us for raising loans, whereas now the party itself has taken loans of almost Rs 10,000 crore in two years. There is nothing new in the Budget. Virbhadra Singh, former CM

Will lead to price rise

Now, it is clear that the borrowings of Rs 12,000 crore that the government will make in its first two years will ultimately prove to be inflationary and result in price rise. Give and take is going hand in hand. The  decline in apple, other fruits and off-season vegetables is a cause of worry. The primary sector on which a majority of the population is dependent has gone down to 8.8 of the SGDP.  Rakesh Singha, CPM MLA


The Budget is development-oriented. It is a Budget which will lay the foundation for a new Himachal in this era of industrial and technological advancement. Chief Minister Jai Ram Thakur has exhibited able fiscal management by trying to take out maximum possible money for development despite loan liabilities and poor financial health of the state. Subsidies will herald a change for good. Satpal Satti, BJP president  


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