Himachal chief minister Sukhvinder Singh Sukhu on Friday presented a budget of Rs 53,413 crore for 2023-24 in the state assembly. The chief minister said that his government will fulfil all the promises made to the people during elections in a phased manner.
The state faces huge debt of Rs 75,000 crore and other liabilities on account of payment of arrears of revised pay scales and DA amounting Rs 11,000 crore. The growth of state's GDP has remained sluggish during 2022-23 and dropped to 6.4 per cent as compared to 7.6 per cent growth recorded in 2021-22.
The supplementary demands for grants for 2022-23 amounting to Rs 13,141 crore were passed by the house on March 15.
The government has decided to continue with the previous tax regime and no new tax were announced.
Chief minister Sukhu said that the government will bring a Horticulture policy to save the horticulturist from the clutches of middlemen.
The chief minister while presenting the budget said that Himachal will be made a model state for electrical vehicles and for this purpose he allocated Rs 1,000 crore to replace 1,500 diesel buses. The state will be developed as a 'Green Energy State' by 31 March 2026 and for that a target to set up Solar Energy Projects of 500 MW in 2023-24 was announced.
In order to boost tourism, Sikhu said that Kangra district will be developed as the tourist capital and all 12 districts will be connected with heliport facilities in the next one year.
The chief minister also announced the development of a new town of Jhatiadevi, near JubbarHatti airport in the suburbs of Shimla. He also added that a detailed project report will soon be prepared.
The government also increased the MLA area development fund from Rs 2 crore to 2.10 crore despite financial crunch.
Benefits for women
To benefit women the government will give 2,31,000 women Rs 1,500 per month as the government had promised during the election. This will cost Rs 416 crore per year to the exchequer.
Additionally the chief minister announced Rs 1.50 lakh each for 7,000 widows and single women for houses under CM Vidhva and Ekal Nari Awas Yojna.
The chief minister Sukhu also announced measures to improve healthcare facilities in the state.
Casualty wards in all medical colleges to be upgraded to emergency medicine department; robotic technology to be introduced: CM.
Talking about the pension scheme, the Himachal CM said, "We have come to work for the welfare of the people and have restored the old pension scheme benefiting about 1.36 employees of the state."
CM Sukhu announced that Cow cess of Rs 10/bottle to be imposed on sale of liquor bottles. This move according to him will fetch Rs 100 crore revenue per annum.
About 30,000 vacant posts in various departments to be filled, Himachal CM announced in the FY24 budget. The government also raised the MNREGA daily wages to Rs 240 from the earlier Rs 212.
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