Congress questions projected 8.3% growth rate of Himachal

Shimla, March 8

The Congress today accused the government of trying to mislead the people of the state by projecting a growth rate of 8.3 per cent at a time when the economy was still limping back to normal.

Congress MLA Harshwardhan Chauhan said that there was only a slight increase in this year's Budget of Rs 51,365 crore, and thus hardly any money was left for development. Chauhan was participating in the debate on the Budget proposals presented by Chief Minister Jai Ram Thakur.

"How can we surpass the 4.2 per cent growth rate of 2018-19 when the revenue from agriculture, horticulture, industry and tourism was far higher than the revenue of 2021-22," he said.

Chauhan said that there was a mere 2 per cent increase in the Budget and 20 per cent decrease in the capital outlay over last year. So, the government was trying to mislead people. He added the Budget was directionless containing mere announcements without any budgetary allocations for various schemes.

Education Minister Govind Thakur said that the Chief Minister had presented a Budget, which takes care of every section of society without any new tax. "The Chief Minister has announced a huge hike in the salaries of over 60,000 ad hoc employees such as Asha workers, Anganwari workers, mid-day meal workers, pump operators and others," he said

"The Covid pandemic has impacted the global economy but Himachal did reasonably well. The Covid management by the state government, be it the vaccination programme or ramping up health infrastructure, has been lauded by one and all," said Govind.

The minister said that the Congress should not be too confident after the win in the four byelections. "The Congress could not get lead even in one of the 68 Assembly segments in the 2019 Lok Sabha elections. The 2022 Assembly poll will deliver a repeat result, and the BJP will return to power," he added.

CPM legislator Rakesh Singh said the Chief Minister had disappointed the employees by not making the stand of his government clear on the restoration of the old pension scheme (OPS) and formulation of a policy for outsourced employees.

Col Inder Singh (retd), Narinder Thakur, Sanjay Awasthy, Hoshiyar Singh and Nand Lal participated in the debate.

The Congress accused Irrigation and Public Health Minister Mahender Singh of misbehaving with Kangra MLA Pawan Kajal and staged a walkout from the Assembly.

Sloganeering, walkout

  • CLP leader Mukesh Agnihotri objected to the manner in which the IPH Minister was trying to intimidate Kangra MLA Pawan Kajal.
  • Congress MLAs trouped into the well of the House raising slogans.
  • Agnihotri demanded a White Paper on Jal Jeevan Misison.
  • Kajal had accused the minister of discriminating against Kangra by allocating only Rs800 crore as compared to Rs1,250 crore for Mandi under the Jal Jeevan Mission
Courtesy: Tribune News Service

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