CHANDIGARH: Eyeing the Lok Sabha elections, Himachal Pradesh Chief Minister Jai Ram Thakur on Saturday presented a revenue deficit but populist budget of Rs 44,387 crore for the next fiscal, the government will implement the 10 per cent quota for economically weaker sections of the general category.
Besides, the state government will provide 50 per cent subsidy to farmers for installing solar fencing to save their crops from monkeys. Goats will be provided at a subsidy of 85 per cent to the farmers living below poverty line and better quality breeds of sheep will be imported.
Breeding farm for Sahiwal and Red Sindhi Cows will be established with a total cost of Rs.11.21 crore and Embryo Transfer Technology will be used for their promotion. A farm for Murrah buffaloes will be set-up at a cost of Rs. 11 crore and one Gokul Gram will be set up in the State.
The budget will focus on strengthening the agriculture and social welfare sectors by promising to double the income of farmers by 2022. He said,`` It is wrong to say that the schemes announced in this budget was primarily to allure the people for the Lok Sabha polls. Our objective was on social welfare.’’
Thakur also announced that people who had been arrested under the Maintenance of Internal Security Act (MISA) will receive an annual payment of Rs 11,000 as Varshik Loktantra Prahari Samman. He also said power tariff for irrigation will be reduced to 50 paise per unit from 75 paise.
The revenue receipts are estimated at Rs 33,747 crore, revenue expenditure is likely to be Rs 36,089 crore and the revenue deficit will be Rs 2,342 crore.
The fiscal deficit is estimated at Rs 7,352 crore in 2019-20 which is 4.3 per cent of State Gross Domestic Product (SGDP). The net borrowing will be Rs 5,069 crore, which is within the borrowing limit.
Thakur, who also holds a finance portfolio, announced launching of 15 schemes and strengthening the existing 30 schemes with emphasis on education, women’s empowerment, job creation and tourism.
Blaming the previous Congress for the financial mess, he said when his government assumed power, it inherited the legacy of acute shortage of financial resources.
"Meeting the aspirations of the common people was a huge challenge due to the empty treasury left by the previous government. It was due to this reason that in 2017-18 and in the previous two years, the state had logged growth rates lower than the country as a whole."
"One additional LPG refill cylinder will be provided free of cost to the beneficiaries of Himachal Grihani Suvidha Yojna and Ujjwala Yojna. Two lakh families will be benefited," he said.
A scheme for doubling income of farmers through water conservation and other activities will be started with the assistance of the Asian Development Bank, as Rs 708 crore has been recommended for its first phase.