No new tax in Himachal budget, age limit for old-age pension at 60 yrs

Presenting his fifth and the last budget of the current government, Thakur announced to decrease the age limit for availing such pension without any income limit from 70 years to 60 years

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Himachal Pradesh | Jai Ram Thakur | State Budgets

Himachal Pradesh Chief Minister Jai Ram Thakur announced no new tax proposal and increased the old-age pension to Rs 1,500 per month while bringing down the age limit to 60 years in the Rs 51,365-crore budget for 2022-23 presented in the Assembly on Friday.

The budget focuses on social security and the poor, the chief minister, who also holds the finance portfolio, told reporters after the presentation of the budget.

To a query, Thakur replied that the debt burden on the state rose to Rs 63,200 crore from Rs 55,737 crore in the previous year.

While presenting the budget, the chief minister said that out of every 100 rupees to be spent by the state in 2022-23, Rs 11 would be on loan repayment and Rs 10 on interest payment.

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

According to the budget of 2022-23, out of every 100 rupees, Rs 26 on salary, 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 36,737 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 state’s gross domestic product (GSDP).

Presenting the Budget 2022-23 in the state Assembly, Himachal Thakur announced increasing old age social security pension from Rs 1,001 to Rs 1,500.

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

The chief minister, however, rejected the notion that the decision has been taken in view of the forthcoming elections later this year.

The state government focussed on the social security since its first cabinet meeting four years ago when it had reduced the age limit for old-age pension from 80 years to 70 years, he replied to a query.

The chief minister accompanied by chief secretary Ram Subhag Singh and additional chief secretary Prabodh Saxena further told reporters that the state had got over Rs 600 crore more as its share in the central taxes in the current fiscal. Over Rs 13,000 crore increase which amounts to 15 per cent is expected as share in the central taxes in the next fiscal, he added.

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

The MLALAD fund has been increased by Rs. 20 lakh in the last budget before the next Assembly elections scheduled to be held in December.

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

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

Thakur announced hike in pension of destitute women from Rs 1,000 to Rs 1,150, for those between 60 to 79 years up from Rs 850 to Rs 1,100 and for those above 70 years and disabled from Rs 1,000 to Rs 1,700. He said Rs 1,300 crore would be spent in the budget on providing social security pension to 7.50 lakh for 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 Re 1 per bottle, he added.

Talking about health, the chief minister declared to create 500 new posts of doctors in the state.

Thakur announced that a provision would be made whereby the Himcare Card for availing free health services for various ailments would 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. 5050 to Rs. 6,050 per month respectively, he added.

Announcing budgetary allocation of Rs 8,412 crore for education, he said that Sardar Patel University in Mandi district would start functioning in April this year.

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

Thakur also announced to construct 1,000 new anganwadi bhawans in the state.

A total of 789 plans from NABARD worth Rs 3,200 crore had been approved during the five-year tenure of the previous Congress government, whereas the current government got approval of 826 plans from NABARD worth Rs 3,452 crore, 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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