Budgeting Without Money

Sunil Sharma

Chief Minister Jai Ram Thakur has tried to touch every section while presenting state budget for 2018-19 though this hilly state has meager financial resources. He presented budget estimates of Rs 41,440 Crore for 2018-19 with the fiscal deficit of Rs 7,821 Crore. Twenty eight new schemes were announced in the budget. The government will fill the gap of Rs 26.64 in every Rs 100 with borrowings. Different sections have hailed the budget proposals while the opposition alleged that budget reflects Himachal’s dependence on raising loans and Centre.

Highlights of Economic Survey 2017-18

* Per capita income increases by Rs 11185 to reach Rs 158462

* Growth rate dipped from 7.1% to 6.3%

* Nearly 1.96 crore tourists visited as compared to 1.84 crore previous year

* Fruit production dips, production of food grains registers 6.8% rise

* Only 38.34% of hydro power potential being tapped until now

* Gross State Domestic Product increases from Rs. 1,24,236 crore to Rs. 1,35914 crore

* 8.34 lakh educated unemployed youths registered in employment exchanges

28 New Schemes

Chief Minister Jai Ram Thakur announced 28 new schemes while presenting his first budget. The new schemes are aimed at providing relief to all sections of the society with focus on agriculture, horticulture and rural economy as a whole, committing to double up the income of farmers by 2022. Chief Minister, who also holds finance portfolio presented the budget estimates of Rs 41,440 crore for 2018-19 with the fiscal deficit of Rs 7,821 crore.  Main focus of the budget is on agriculture, horticulture and rural economy with a resolve to double farmers’ income by 2022. It has also focused on employment generation and attracting investment in industrial sector that would not only generate employment opportunities but also add to the state revenue. The government will meet out a gap of Rs 26.64 in every Rs 100 with borrowings.

* The budget is committed to farmers and horticulturists besides concentrating on tourism, women empowerment and employment

-Jai Ram Thakur, Chief Minister

* Budgetary proposals reflect that state is dependent upon Central grants and borrowings. It has focused on private sector with minor other announcements

 -Mukesh Agnihotri, CLP leader

Total Budget Expenditure :Rs 41, 440

Salaries                          11,263

Pensions                        5,893

Interest Payment           4,260

Loan Payment               3,184

Other Loans                   440

Maintenance                 2,741

(Rupees in crores)

Budget Highlights

* Rs 277 crore allocated for 111 small irrigation projects

* Electricity rate for agriculture reduced from Re 1 per unit to 73 paise per unit.

* New projects worth Rs 50 crore proposed for Kangra and Nadaun.

* Focus on doubling the income of farmers.

* Zero Budget farming project to help 39000 farmers in organic farming.

* Government to provide 60% subsidy on anti-hail guns

* Subsidy under Mukhyamantri Green House Scheme raised to 75% from previous 50%

* Vidhayak Nidhi fund to be raised from Rs 1.10 crore to Rs 1.35 crore.

* Proposal to to construct community hall in every Assembly constituency.

* Levy of Certain Goods Carried by Roads(CGCR) on apple, other fruits and vegetables withdrawn.

* Investment subsidy of 50 percent for bio-pesticides plants

* Subsidy of 40 percent on machinery for setting up of “Agriculture Equipment Hiring Centres”.

* 32 crore for subsidy to farmers/horticulturists on power weeders and power tillers

* Subsidy of 85 percent for installing solar fencing by three or more farmers under ” Mukhya Mantri Khet Sanrakshan Yojna”.

* 29 crore for “Pradhan Mantri Fasal Bima Yojna” and for “Weather Based Insurance Scheme”

* Enhancement of milk procurement price by Re. 1 per liter

* 50 percent subsidy to the BPL farmers of general category for rearing Desi cows.

* Setting up of Gau-Sewa Aayog announced.

From Editor-in-Chief’s Desk

Chief Minister Jai Ram Thakur’s first budget has tried to touch every section on the pattern of Central budget. Forty one percent of the state’s budget is spent on salaries of employees and pensions. What would be the developmental goals if twenty six and a half percent of budgetary provisions will be fulfilled by raising loans? The government’s intentions are clear as Jai Ram Thakur has tried to raise the status of farmers and horticulturists particularly through irrigation schemes. It has also lowered electricity tariff for farmers and horticulturists. Jai Ram government has proposed schemes for rural areas in a new shape, be it honey or milk production. The rural economy will benefit from budgetary provisions while constituting

Gau-Sewa Ayog can be termed as revolutionary step. Budgetary provisions from revenue of temples besides rupee one from sale of every liquor bottle will help this cause. Announcement of rupee ten lakh prize for stray animal free panchayat is also commendable. However it is not clear as to how to save farm fields destroyed by monkeys as this problem affects every farmer and horticulturist. The budget has tried to change the definition of self employment besides showing intent to simplify investment proposals. The budget indicates that youths should look forward for self employment opportunities. The budget also lays main emphasis on education, infrastructure development and irrigation and public health sectors. It has also touched health and urban development but budgetary proposals are meager for tourism and youth services and sports, though Chief Minister has assured to provide a big playground in every assembly segment. The government is also changing its image by making budgetary provisions for auditoriums and multi-purpose indoor sports complex.

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