Himachal Pradesh Chief Minister Prem Kumar Dhumal, who also holds the Finance portfolio, presented a tax-free Budget of Rs.16,708.46 crore for 2011-12 in the State Assembly on Wednesday. He took care to make it a fairly populist Budget in view of the upcoming Vidhan Sabha elections next year.
In a big relief to State Government employees, Mr. Dhumal announced that 100 per cent salary arrears of Class IV and 40 per cent of Class III employees will be released this month. . Similarly the officers will be paid 30 per cent of the total arrears. In case of pensioners, 20 per cent additional arrears will be released this month. If an employee or pensioner has died, the entire outstanding amount of the arrears will be paid to the legal heirs within a month.
Mr. Dhumal said against an expenditure of every Rs.100, the State would have Rs.84.35 as the total revenue receipts including transfers from the Centre. The gap of Rs.15.65 would be met by borrowings, he said.
Out of every Rs.100 of State revenue receipts, Rs.28.67 will accrue from tax revenues, Rs.14.15 from non-tax revenues, Rs.14.62 from share in Central taxes and Rs.42.56 from Central grants. Out of every Rs.100 spent, salaries will account for Rs.35.20, interest payments Rs.12.87, loan repayments Rs.5.75, pensions Rs.13.23 and the remaining Rs.32.95 will be spent on developmental works and other activities, he said. To avoid tax evasions and leakages, Mr. Dhumal said the excise and taxation departments will be computerised and e-return and e-registration facilities will be made available. The Government has also decided to implement e-stamping to replace the existing non-judicial stamp papers.
To promote agriculture, horticulture and allied sectors that continue to be the main livelihood of 70 per cent of the population, a Rs.321-crore crop diversification promotion project funded through Japan International Cooperation Agency will be launched in the State. To tap additional sources of hydropower, the Budget proposes to add more than 2,106 MW of electricity in the coming fiscal. For tourism, the Asian Development Bank has approved a financial assistance of about Rs.428 crore to develop tourism-related infrastructure.