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Published on 10/02/2019 10:41:16 AM | Source: IANS

Rs 44,387 crore populist budget in Himachal Pradesh

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Himachal Pradesh Chief Minister Jai Ram Thakur presented a Rs 44,387 crore populist budget for 2019-20 here on Saturday. The budget estimate was seven per cent higher than the 2018-19 budget of Rs 41,439 crore, Thakur told IANS after presenting it in the Assembly. He said, "It is wrong to say the schemes announced in this budget were primarily to attract people for the Lok Sabha polls." The revenue receipts are estimated at Rs 33,747 crore and revenue expenditure Rs 36,089 crore, leaving a revenue deficit of Rs 2,342 crore. The fiscal deficit is estimated at Rs 7,352 crore in 2019-20, which is 4.3 per cent of the state gross domestic product (SGDP). The net borrowing will be Rs 5,069 crore and within the limit. Thakur, who also holds the finance portfolio, announced 15 new schemes and strengthening of existing 30 schemes with emphasis on education, women's empowerment, job creation and tourism. "As per the advance estimates, state's economy is expected to grow at 7.3 per cent during 2018-19. The growth rate was 6.5 per cent in 2017-18. The SGDP is expected to be Rs 1,51,835 crore in 2018-19, which is 11.2 per cent higher than 2017-18," he said in his speech delivered in Hindi. Thakur said an outlay of Rs 7,100 crore has been proposed for the Annual Plan 2019-20, which is 12.7 per cent more than the approved outlay of Rs 6,300 crore for Annual Plan 2018-19. "There is a provision of 10 per cent reservation for economically weaker sections of the general category in employment and educational institutions," he announced. "One additional LPG refill cylinder will be provided free to the beneficiaries of "Himachal Grihani Suvidha Yojna" and "Ujjwala Yojna". Two lakh families will be benefited under the scheme," he said. To tackle drug trafficking, the budget has proposed setting up of the Yuva Navjeevan Board, headed by the Chief Minister. It will not only tackle trafficking and consumption of narcotics but also help in rehabilitation of addicts. A scheme named "Sahara" was started under which a financial assistance of Rs 2,000 per month will be given to patients suffering from diseases like Parkinson's, cancer, paralysis, muscular dystrophy and haemophilia. The widows below 45 years of age will be provided reservation for admission into nursing institutions and Industrial Training Institutes (ITIs). The widows and deserted women will be provided an increased childcare support of Rs 6,000 per child. A scheme for doubling income of farmers through water conservation and other activities will be launched with the Asian Development Bank's assistance. The Chief Minister said Rs 708 crore has been recommended for its first phase. In the hill state, which is also facing the impact of climate change, a new electric vehicle policy will be introduced. For every Rs 100 to be spent by the government, Rs 27.84 will be spent on salaries, Rs 15 on pension, Rs 10.25 on interest payment, Rs 7.35 on loan repayment and Rs 39.56 on development works and other activities, says the budget estimates. Leader of Opposition Mukesh Aghnihotri, however, said there was no need to launch new schemes. "What's the need of new schemes when the existing ones are not getting implemented due to funds shortage," Agnihotri said. "The budget was also silent on getting financial assistance from his own government in the Centre," he said.