SHIMLA: No fresh taxes have been proposed in Rs 35,783 crore election year Himachal Pradesh Budget, even as the Chief Minister announced increases in several allowances and setting up of two new software parks in the state. Presenting the Budget, Chief Minister Virbhadra Singh announced that the government will set up a Software Technology Park in Shimla and in Kangra districts while Rs 220 crore has been proposed under the State Food Subsidy scheme.
Singh announced a Rs 20 crore budgetary provision under the new Mukhya Mantri Rural Road Repair Scheme and said the Rs 750 crore second phase of the State Road Project would be started. The Chief Minister announced that unemployment allowance would be increased to Rs 1,000 per month, daily wages to Rs 210 per month, capital allowance from Rs 275 to Rs 400 per month.
Honorarium to Anganwadi workers and helpers will be increased from Rs 450 to Rs 1,450 and Rs 300 to Rs 600 per month respectively, he said. He announced a hike in ration allowance of police personnel from Rs 180 to Rs 210 per month and said the MLAs local development fund has also been raised to Rs 1.10 crore. The fiscal deficit in 2017-18 Budget was 3.5 per cent of the GSDP while Rs 9,628 crore would be spent on salaries, Rs 4,940 crore on pensioners and Rs 6,605 crore on repayment of loans and interest payment. Singh said 39.55 per cent of the Budget would be spent on development.
The Budget opened with a deficit of Rs 1,876 crore and 22.55 per cent of resource gap would be bridged through borrowings, further increasing the loan liability which was about Rs 42,000 crore, he said. Singh announced an increase in Social Security Pension from Rs 650 to Rs 700 per month while the pension for the beneficiaries above 80 years of age would get enhanced pension of Rs 1,250 per month.
He also announced Rs 800 crore under the Forest Eco-system management project, Rs 1,300 crore under the Forest for Prosperity project. Subsidy for Khet Sanrakshan Yojana was increase from 60 to 80 per cent and 75 per cent subsidy for setting up Milk processing and chilling plants, Singh said.
Chief minister said that the government has provided Rs 750 crore and Rs 1200 crore respectively for providing subsidised food grains and power subsidy to domestic consumers during past four years. Acceding to the demand of Zila Parishads and Panchayat Samities for funds, Singh said a provision of Rs 42 crore has been made for the same.
Entry Tax for existing industries will be reduced from 1 per cent to half per cent, additional good tax on iron, steel and plastic goods will be reduced while revised rates of electricity duty for new industries will also be extended to new hotels, Singh said.
He also announced that more than 19,000 functional posts in various departments will be filled, reduction in stamp duty from six per cent to three per cent for the purchase of land for residential purpose by women and increase in marriage grant of daughters of freedom fighters from Rs 21,000 to Rs 31,000.