Himachal Pradesh Budget 2018-19: After winning a thumping majority in the state, the newly elected government led by Chief Minister Jai Ram Thakur presented its first budget for the state of Himachal Pradesh. The budget was tabled in the House by the CM himself as he also holds the Finance portfolio in the state cabinet. It won’t be wrong to call the Himachal Pradesh Budget an attempt to lay the framework for the ‘New India’ that Prime Minister Narendra Modi envisions.
Going by the announcements, the Himachal Pradesh Budget seemed to follow the steps of the Union Budget without neglecting the needs of the state in particular. The Himachal Budget presented today allocates generously to revive the rural economy akin to the Union Budget 2018-19. The Rs 41,440 crore Himachal Pradesh Budget sets a new benchmark for the state as it makes two promising announcements for girl child(s).
Himachal Pradesh Budget 2018-19: Here are the key highlights –
1. IRRIGATION: In an attempt to check farmer woes, a new “Flow Irrigation Scheme” with an outlay of Rs 150 crore for next five years has been launched. Furthermore, the electricity to farmers for irrigation purpose will be provided at 75 paisa per unit in place of existing Rs 1 per unit.
2. CROP RELIEF: To extend the benefits of Pradhan Mantri Fasal Bima Yojna, an allocation of Rs 29 crore has been made for “Weather Based Insurance Scheme”. An allocation of Rs 150 crore has also been made for upgradation and opening of new Mandis under the World Bank project. Zero Budget farming project will be undertaken to help 39 thousand farmers in organic farming. The government will also organise training camps in universities.
3. EDUCATION: School bags will be provided to the students of 1st, 3rd, 6th and 9th class under the ‘Atal Vardi Yojna’. Skill Development Scheme has been given an allowance of Rs 100 crore. Grant-in-aid of Rs 110 crore will be given Himachal Pradesh University.
4. INFRASTRUCTURE: Mukhya Mantri Sadak Yojna has been allocated Rs 50 crore. The state government also promises to spend Rs 65 crore for construction of new residences and Rs 25 crore for repair of government residences. The government has also proposed to construct community hall in every Assembly constituency. The subsidy under Mukhyamantri Green House Scheme has also been raised to 75 per cent from previous 50 per cent.
5. GIRL CHILD: Assistance to BPL families under “Beti Hai Anmol Yojna” has been enhanced to Rs 12,000 from Rs 10,000. Critical care package under “ Swasthya Bima Yojna” has also been enhanced from Rs 1,75,000 to Rs 2,50,000 for families having one or two girl child.
6. SENIOR CITIZENS: Pension to persons having 70 percent and above disabilities and persons aged 70 years and above 93 enhanced to Rs 1,300 per month. The budget provisions of Rs 600 crore for Social Security Pension Schemes.
7. CATTLE: Setting up of Gau-Sewa Aayog has been announced. Gau Vansh Vikas cess will be imposed on every bottle of liquor sold in the state collecting Rs 8 crore (as per estimates) per annum. An award of Rs 10 lakh will be given to a Panchayat free of abandoned cattle.
8. RENEWABLE ENERGY: New scheme “Solar Irrigation Scheme” launched with a budget outlay of Rs 200 crore for next five years.
9. FUNDS: The grant under “Vidhayak Khsetra Vikaas Nidhi Yojana” has been raised to Rs 1.25 crore while the discretionary grant has been raised to Rs 7 lakh.
10. HEALTHCARE: The medical emergency assistance has been increased from existing Rs 50 thousand to Rs 2.5 lakh under the “Himachal Pradesh Patrakar Kalyan Yojna”. Baby kit worth Rs 1,500 will be provided to all newborn under new “Mukhya Mantri Aashirwad Scheme”.