Himachal Pradesh Chief Minister Jai Ram Thakur on Saturday presented his fourth budget for 2021-22, proposing no new tax which pegged total expenditure at Rs 50,192 crore for 2021-22 against Rs 49,131 crore in the last fiscal despite the Covid-19 crisis.
The Chief Minister announced a budgetary allocation of Rs 8,024 crore for education and Rs 3,016 crore for health services during 2021-22. After presenting the Budget for three hours in the House, Thakur said the State has a debt burden of Rs 60,500 crore. The debt burden has increased by Rs 4,763 crore from Rs 55,737 crore in the last financial year.
Earlier Thakur announced in the assembly that MLAs will get their full salary from April 1. Thakur, who also holds the finance portfolio, said the MLA local area development (MLALAD) fund will not only be restored, but it will be hiked by Rs 5 lakh — from Rs 1.75 crore to Rs 1.80 crore. The State Government had last year decided to cut 30 per cent salary of MLAs and suspend the MLALAD fund for two years to fight the Covid-19 pandemic.
While presenting the budget, the Chief Minister said total revenue receipts are estimated at Rs 37,028 crore during 2021-22, whereas total revenue expenditure is estimated to be Rs 38,491 crore, leading to a revenue deficit of Rs 1,463 crore. Fiscal deficit is estimated at Rs 7,789 crore which is 4.52 per cent of the Gross State Domestic Product, he added.
“I believe that necessary resources will be mobilised through effective tax administration, funding from international funding agencies, continued support from the Government of India and prudence in fiscal management,” Thakur 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.
Covid-19 has impacted revenue receipts adversely during 2020-21, he said adding that its impact on the state’s own revenue cannot be ruled out during 2021-22.
12 NEW SCHEMES ANNOUNCED
The Chief Minister announced 12 new schemes with focus on women welfare and empowerment, expansion of social security net, strengthening and expansion of health services, increasing income of farmers, swaran jayanti aashray yojana, employment creation, infrastructure and industrial development and quality education.
Announcing social security pension of Rs 1,000 per month to elderly women in the age group of 65-69 years under “Swaran Jayanti Nari Sambal Yojana” besides other existing pension schemes for the woman, Thakur said that that additional amount of Rs 55 crore would be spent for that. Further declaring the new scheme ''Shagun'', Thakur said that a grant of Rs 31,000 would be given to the daughters of Scheduled Caste, Scheduled Tribe and Other Backward Classes from BPL families at the time of marriage. Besides, two girls of BPL families will now be given Post-Birth grants of Rs 21,000 as fixed deposit, he added. Thakur further stated that 40,000 new beneficiaries would be brought under Social Security Pension Schemes.
EXPANDING HEALTH FACILITIES
Announcing about expanding health facilities, the chief minister said PET scan in IGMC, CT scan and MRI machines in RPMC Tanda and CT scan machines in medical colleges in Hamirpur and Nahan would be installed at a cost of Rs 70 crore.
Besides, a super speciality hospital in Chamyana, New OPD Block and Trauma Centre in IGMC will be dedicated to the people, he added. All persons above the age of 70 years and orphans living in Bal Ashrams will be covered free of cost under HIMCARE, he added.
The Chief Minister said that Mission “Drishti” would be started for free eye check up and providing of free spectacles to the students of class 6 to 10 in Government schools. An amount of Rs 250 crore will be spent for providing health related services under Ayushmaan Bharat, HIMCARE, Mukhya Mantri Chikitsa Sahayta Kosh, free medicines, Sahara, Sammaan, he added.
For making available the high density fruit plants at reasonable prices, the “Swaran Jayanti Smridh Bagwan Yojana” will be started, he added. An expert group will be set up to restructure various schemes and enhance income of the farmers, he added. Under “Swaran Jayanti Ashraya Yojana”, 12,000 beneficiaries will be provided with houses equipped with all basic facilities, he said.
Regarding employment creation, Thakur said that an amount of Rs 100 crore will be spent on expansion of the scope of “Mukhya Mantri Swavlamban Yojna.”
The Chief Minister said that 7,000 unemployed youth will be provided employment in the private sector through Rozgar Melas and campus interviews. Building and Other Construction Workers Welfare Board will extend increased assistance to more workers, he said adding that the government has kept a target of filling up 30,000 functional posts in 2021-22: 4,000 posts in different categories in Health Department, 4,000 posts of different category teachers in Education Department; 8,000 posts of Multi task Part Time Workers in Education Department; 5,000 posts of Multi Task Part Time Workers in PWD and 4,000 posts of Para Fitter and Pump Operator & Multi Task Part Time Workers in Jal Shakti Department. Himachali Handicraft and traditional products sale centres will be developed near Atal Tunnel (on both sides) for convenience of the tourists, he added. Budget of Rs 1,016 crore has been earmarked for construction of Mandi Airport and expansion of Shimla, Kullu and Dharamshala Airports, he added. The Planning Department of the state would be renamed as Niti Vibhag, the Chief Minister said.