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Himachal CM Sukhvinder Sukhu presents Rs 58,444 crore budget, hikes MSP for milk and no fresh tax proposed

Himachal Budget 2024: Announcing a 4 per cent additional Dearness Allowance for government employees from April 1, 2024, he said arrears of revised pay scales will be paid to employees and pensioners in a phased manner.

Sheenu Sharma Edited By: Sheenu Sharma @20sheenu Shimla Published on: February 17, 2024 21:16 IST
himachal budget, Himachal Pradesh CM, himachal budget 2024, Himachal cm Sukhvinder Sukhu, Sukhvinder
Image Source : SUKHVINDER SINGH SUKHU (X) Himachal Pradesh Chief Minister Sukhvinder Singh Sukhu.

Himachal Budget 2024: Himachal Pradesh Chief Minister Sukhvinder Singh Sukhu today (February 17) presented the annual state Budget of Rs 58,444 crore for 2024-25 with a focus on the agriculture and rural sectors, and announced an increase in the Minimum Support Price (MSP) for milk. The government did not propose any new tax for the next fiscal.

Presenting his second state Budget, Sukhu, who also holds the finance portfolio, announced a hike in MSP of cow milk from Rs 38 to Rs 45 per litre and buffalo milk from Rs 47 to Rs 55 per litre. Himachal is the first state to give MSP on milk, he said. The rural-oriented Budget focused on strengthening farming and animal husbandry sectors, besides announcing steps to make the state self-reliant.

He said liabilities of all milk cooperative societies will be waived off and Rs 150 crore will be spent on strengthening infrastructure for milk procurement and its processing. The revenue receipts and expenditure are estimated at Rs 42,153 crore and Rs 46,667 crore, respectively, implying that the estimated revenue loss will be Rs 4,514 crore.

The fiscal deficit was estimated at Rs 10,784 crore that was 4.75 per cent of the Gross State Domestic Product (GSDP). Of every Rs 100 expenditure, Rs 25 would be spent on salaries, Rs 17 on pension, Rs 11 on interest, Rs 9 on loan repayment, and Rs 10 on grants to autonomous institutions and only Rs 28 would be spent on other activities an capital works.

Agricultural budget

Reiterating his resolve to make a green state by 2026, Sukhu announced Rajiv Gandhi Prakritik Kheti Yojana, under which 36,000 farmers- 10 farmers from every panchayat- will be trained in natural farming techniques. Universal cartons will be introduced for apple packaging, and horticulture tourism will be encouraged, he added.

Announcing a 4 per cent additional Dearness Allowance (DA) for government employees from April 1, 2024, he said arrears of revised pay scales will be paid to employees and pensioners in a phased manner. The DA increase will put an additional financial burden of Rs 580 crore on the state exchequer.

CM Sukhu blames previous ruling BJP govt

Blaming the previous BJP government of financial mismanagement, Sukhu said the debt burden of the state has mounted to Rs 87,788 crore. Sukhu said a sum of Rs 22,406 crore was due to Himachal from the Centre.

This, he said, included a proposal of Rs 9,906 crore post-disaster need assessment sent to the Centre, Rs 4,500 crore due from Bhakra Beas Management Board (BBMB) as power arrears, and Rs 8,000 crore employees' contribution under the National Pension Scheme (NPS). He said the state government announced a special package of Rs 4,500 crore for disaster-affected people after last year's monsoon, and added that the Centre had not given the state any special package.

Sukhu said the state government will introduce new policies to promote startups, encourage sportspersons, besides making HP a prominent destination for filmmakers and to put a tab on illegal mining activities. Other announcements included setting up of the first modernised de-addiction and rehabilitation centre at Kandaghat in Solan district, appointment of 6,000 nursery teachers, and monthly review meeting of schools.

He also said 327 old diesel buses will be replaced with electric buses and vehicle scrap centres will be established in the state.

The CM also announced increasing the daily wages of MGNREGA workers by Rs 60 from Rs 240 to Rs 300 per day and increase the honorarium of functionaries of panchayati raj institutions and urban local bodies. The government proposed to increase MLA discretionary grant from Rs 13 lakh to Rs 14 lakh and 'Vidhayak Kshetra Vikas Nidhi Yojana' from Rs 2.10 crore to 2.20 crore.

Himachal Pradesh Transformation Cell and Sustainable Development Goals Coordination Centre will be set up in the planning department to give suggestions to accelerate the development based on best practices and monitoring and evaluation of the development programmes, Sukhu said.

(With agencies inputs)

ALSO READ: Himachal govt to appoint 6,000 nursery teachers, announces CM Sukhvinder Singh Sukhu in budget

ALSO READ: Delhi: Seven BJP MLAs suspended from Assembly Budget Session for interrupting LG's address

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