Himachal govt presents Rs 51k-cr FY23 budget with focus on social security

In the election year, the Himachal Pradesh government on Friday presented a Rs 51,365-crore Budget for the financial year 2022-23 against the 49,131-crore Budget in 2021-22

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Himachal Pradesh | Budget

In the election year, the Himachal Pradesh government on Friday presented a Rs 51,365-crore Budget for the financial year 2022-23 against the 49,131-crore Budget in 2021-22.

Chief Minister Jai Ram Thakur, who also holds the state’s finance portfolio, presented the Budget 2022-23 that saw more focus on the poor and social security.

The debt on Himachal Pradesh is higher than the amount earmarked in the Budget for the next fiscal presented in the state’s Assembly on Friday.

Soon after presenting the Budget, Thakur, responding to a media query, said debt burden on the state rose to Rs 63,200 crore from Rs 55,737 crore in the previous year.

Earlier, while presenting the Budget, the chief minister said Rs 11 would be spent on loan repayment and Rs 10 on interest payment out of every hundred rupees to be spent by the state government in 2022-23.

In this way, over one-fifth of the total Budget amount will be paid on loan repayment and interest payment.

In other words, the state government will use over Rs 10,786 crore on loan repayment and interest payment out of the total Rs 51,365-crore Budget in 2022-23.

No new tax has been proposed in the Budget, which saw an increase of Rs 2,234 crore from Rs 49,131 crore in 2021-22.

The increase was Rs 4,743 crore in 2020-21, from Rs 44,388 crore in 2019-20. The Budget was 41,440 crore in 2018-19.

According to the Budget 2022-23, out of every 100 rupees expenditure, Rs 26 will be spent on salaries, Rs 15 on pension, Rs 10 on interest payment, Rs 11 on loan repayment, Rs 9 for grants for autonomous bodies; while the remaining Rs 29 will be spent on other activities, including capital works.

The revenue receipts of 2022-23 are estimated at Rs 3,67,375 crore, whereas expenditure is likely to be Rs 40,278 crore — leading to a revenue deficit of Rs 3,903 crore.

The fiscal deficit is estimated at Rs 9,602 crore for 2022-23, which is 4.98 per cent of the state’s gross domestic product (GSDP).

Presenting the Budget 2022-23 in the state Assembly, Thakur on Friday announced to increase monthly old-age pension amount from Rs 1,001 to Rs 1,500.

In his fifth and last budget of the current government, the chief minister also announced to decrease the age limit from 70 years to 60 years for availing such pension, without any income limit.

Thakur also announced to increase the Member of Legislative Assembly Local Area Development Scheme (MLALAD) fund from the existing Rs 1.80 crore to Rs 2 crore.

The MLALAD fund has been increased by Rs 20 lakh in the Budget, which is the last one before the next Assembly elections scheduled to be held in December.

During his nearly three-hour address in the Assembly while tabling the 152-page Budget, Thakur stated that a total increase of Rs 90 lakh has been made in the MLALAD fund during his government.

The chief minister also announced to increase the discretionary grant for MLAs from Rs 10 lakh to Rs 12 lakh per annum for the next fiscal.

Thakur also announced a hike in pension for destitute women from Rs 1,000 to Rs 1,150; for those between 60 years and 79 years, increased from Rs 850 to Rs 1,100; and for those above 70 years and disabled, a jump from Rs 1,000 to Rs 1,700.

He said Rs 1,300 crore will be spent in the Budget on providing social security pension to 7.50 lakh eligible persons.

The chief minister hiked the grant given for widow remarriage from Rs 50,000 to Rs 75,000. He announced Rs 5 crore for creating livelihood for urban youth, while a Bill will be tabled in the Assembly for fixing eligibility criterion.

Cow cess on liquor will be increased by Rs 1 per bottle, he added.

On the health sector, the chief minister declared to create 500 new posts for doctors in the state.

Thakur announced that a provision would be made whereby the Himcare Card for availing free health services for various ailments will be required to be renewed after three years instead of every year.

Honorarium for Mayor, Deputy Mayor and councillors in municipal corporations has been increased from Rs 12,000 to Rs 15,000, from Rs 8,500 to Rs 10,000 and from Rs 5,050 to Rs 6,050 per month, respectively, he added.

Allocating Rs 8,412 crore for education, he announced that that Sardar Patel University in the Mandi district would start functioning from April 2022.

Four flying schools will be set up for imparting training to fly drones in Himachal Pradesh, he added.

Thakur also announced to construct 1000 new Anganwadi Bhawans in the state.

A total of 789 plans from NABARD worth Rs 3,200 crore was approved during the five-year tenure of the previous Congress government, whereas that during the current government stood at Rs 3,452 crore for 826 plans, he added.

(Only the headline and picture of this report may have been reworked by the Business Standard staff; the rest of the content is auto-generated from a syndicated feed.)

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