Himachal CM presents Rs 50,192 cr populist Budget

Himachal Pradesh Chief Minister Jai Ram Thakur on Saturday presented a Rs 50,192 crore populist but deficit Budget for 2021-22, with no provision for any new taxes despite the coronavirus pandemic.

In the Budget, the CM proposed to set up a bulk drug park in Una district, an electronics and power equipment manufacturing hub in Nalagarh, beides the setting up of toy manufacturing clusters.

The Budget amount is Rs 1,061 crore more as compared to 2020-21.

In his paperless speech, Thakur, who also holds the finance portfolio, said that it is a matter of pride that the government is presenting a Budget of more than Rs 50,000 crore on the completion of 50 years of statehood of Himachal Pradesh.

“During 2021-22, the total revenue receipts are estimated at Rs 37,028 crore, whereas the total revenue expenditure is estimated to be Rs 38,491 crore. Thus, the total revenue deficit is estimated at Rs 1,463 crore. The fiscal deficit is estimated to be Rs 7,789 crore, which is 4.52 per cent of the Gross State Domestic Product,” he said.

“Out of every hundred rupees to be spent by the government in 2021-22, Rs 25.31 will be spent on salaries, Rs 14.11 on pension, Rs 10 on interest payment, Rs 6.64 on loan repayment and Rs 43.94 will be spent on development works and other activities,” he added.

The Chief Minister announced to restore the salaries and honorariums of the Council of Ministers and legislators which were cut by 30 per cent in April last year to mobilise resources required to tackle the Covid-19 pandemic.

He said owing to the pandemic, the state’s economy is estimated to contract only by minus 6.2 per cent, which is 1.5 percentage points less than the estimated contraction of Gross Domestic Product (GDP) at the national level in 2020-21.

“The Gross State Domestic Product (GSDP) is expected to be Rs 156,522 crore during 2020-21 as per the advance estimates. The per capita income of the state is estimated to be Rs 183,286, which is more than the estimated national per capita income for 2020-21 by Rs 56,318,” the Chief Minister said.

Thakur also announced to restore the Vidhayak Kshetra Vikas Nidhi Yojana that was suspended in April last year due to the pandemic.

“This yojana will be restored in 2021-22 and I announce the increase of the Nidhi Yojana from the existing Rs 1.75 crore to Rs 1.80 crore,” he said.

To promote tourism, an allocation of Rs 1,016 crore has been made for the construction of a greenfeild airport in Mandi besides the expansion of airports in Shimla, Kullu and Dharamsala airports.

Thakur, who presented his fourth consecutive Budget on Saturday, proposed 12 new schemes with a focus on women’s welfare and empowerment and strengthening health services.

To mark the state’s 50 years of statehood, the Chief Minister proposed to start a social security pension of Rs 1,000 per month for elderly women in the age group of 65-69 years, irrespective of income criteria.

Also, a new scheme named ‘Shagun’ was launchedin the Budget. Under this scheme, a grant of Rs 31,000 will be given at the time of marriage to the daughters of those belonging to Scheduled Caste, Scheduled Tribe and Other Backward Classes community from below poverty line families. A provision of Rs 50 crore has been made for the scheme.