Himachal Budget: No poll sops, no new taxes

Pratibha Chauhan

Shimla, March 4

Despite this being an election year, Chief Minister Jai Ram Thakur desisted from announcing major poll sops to woo the electorate, keeping in view the grim financial health of the state as he presented a "feel good tax free" Budget of Rs 51,365 crore for the financial year 2022-23.

The age limit for old age, widow and destitute women pension has been reduced to 60 years. Pension for those above 70 years hiked from Rs1100 to Rs1500 and for lepers and transgenders from Rs700 to Rs850 per month.

Thakur, who also holds the finance portfolio, presented his fifth Budget in the last year of his current term. Thakur announced 10 new schemes while promising to create 30,000 jobs in the government and private sector with major thrust on the social and farm sectors.

The most worrisome factor in the Budget remains the galloping debt burden which has touched Rs 62,300 crore. With mounting committed liabilities on account of salaries, pensions, interest and loan repayment, what is left for development works is a mere Rs 29 in every Rs 100.

The announcement for increase in MLA Area Development Fund from Rs 1.80 crore to Rs 2 crore and MLA Discretionary Grant from Rs 10 lakh to Rs 12 lakh was met with thumping of tables by both the treasury and opposition benches. The total Revenue Receipts are expected at Rs 36,375 crore while the Revenue Expenditure is estimated at Rs 40,278 crore, thereby leaving a revenue deficit of Rs 3,903 crores. Fiscal deficit has been pegged at Rs 9,602 crores which is 4.98 per cent of the State's Gross Domestic Product (SGDP).

"Despite the financial health of the state not being very rosy due to Covid, I have tried my level best to provide relief to every section, be it women, employees, youth, farmers and the under-privileged," he said.

The daily wages have been enhanced from Rs 300 to Rs 350 while outsourced workers will now get a minimum of Rs 10,500 per cent. The SMC teachers would continue to function with a monthly enhancement of Rs 1,000.

"With the farm sector coming as major help during the Covid pandemic which has helped us improve our growth rate, I have tried to announce several schemes for this crucial sector," said the Chief Minister.

While announcing 10 new schemes in the Budget, Thakur made an unprecedented increase of almost three times in spending in the social security cover as Rs 1,300 crore will be spent on providing pension to 7.50 lakh persons. The age limit for old age, widow and destitute women monthly pension has been reduced to 60 years and an enhancement made from Rs 700 to Rs 1,000, pension for those above 70 years hiked from Rs 1100 to Rs 1500 and for lepers and transgenders from Rs 700 to Rs 850 per month.

As a tribute to Satyanand Stokes, credited with introducing apple in Himachal, the Chief Minister announced development of a Kotgarh-Thanedhar Trail on his 75th death anniversary. Another unique feature of this Budget has been the introduction of a separate Gender Budget statement, highlighting the major schemes devoted towards women welfare and empowerment. Thakur announced a quantum jump in the honorarium being given to elected representatives of urban local bodies and panchayati raj institutions including Mayor, Councillors and heads and members of Zila Parishad, Panchayat Samitis and Gram Panchayat.

The proposals include construction of 1500 km roads under Pradhan Mantri Gram Sadak Yojana (PMGSY).

He announced setting up of two cyber police stations at Mandi and Dharamsala.

80-page speech

  • The CM delivered the 80-page Budget speech for close to three-hour time from 11 am
  • Thakur's address in Hindi was laced with 26 couplets in Urdu and Hindi
  • CM's wife Dr Sadhna Thakur, state BJP president Suresh Kashyap and former MLAs were seated in the Visitor's Gallery
  • CM said the Budget was a reflection of "Sewa aur samridhi ke, char saal samridhi ke
  • Opposition members joined the treasury benches in thumping of tables when CM announced a hike in the MLA Area Development Fund and discretionary grants
  • CM made repeated references of Covid impacting economy

Honour for Stokes

Finally, Satyanand Stokes' contribution in shaping the apple industry and the state's economy was acknowledged. "The Kotgarh-Thanadhar and adjoining areas in Shimla district will be developed as Satyanand Stokes Trail," says CM.

In memory of Lata

Jai Ram Thakur announced that a Lata Mangeshkar college will be set up as a tribute to the 'Swar Kokila' and a Lata Mangeshkar Smriti Rajya Samman will be given in folk singing

Stress on natural farming

The CM announced that 50,000 acres will be brought under natural farming, four new grain mandis be set up at Rs15 crore besides strengthening of cold storage and cold chain facilities.

For social security

The Chief Minister increased spending under the social security cover by almost three times. A sum of Rs1,300 crore will be spent on providing pension to 7.50 lakh persons.



The Budget is disappointing and the CM has made a failed attempt to woo the electorate with an eye on the Assembly poll.

Kuldeep Rathore, State Congress President


A balanced Budget in which all, including farmers, employees, businessmen, the youth, women, senior citizens, have been taken care of.

Anurag Thakur, Union Minister

Silent on pension plan

The Budget is silent on employees' demand of restoration of old pension scheme and removing pay anomalies.

Mukesh Agnihotri, CLP Leader

Welfare of all

The Budget aimed at the welfare of all sections of society, 3 free cylinders and old-age pension will go a long way in helping women

Suresh Kashyap, State BJP President


Everything has been presented with a sugar coating but the harsh reality is that growth cannot be achieved without creating employment.

Rakesh Singha, CPM MLA

Courtesy: Tribune News Service

Post a Comment

* Please Don't Spam Here. All the Comments are Reviewed by Admin.

Top Post Ad