Himachal Pradesh Chief Minister presented his fifth budget in the State Assembly on 19th March. This was the longest budget speech in the history of Vidhan Sabha. In his 82 page speech Prem Kumar Dhumal read in Hindi with 189 sub headings, lasting two hours and twenty minutes.
The total budget expenditure estimate for 2012-13 is Rs 20243.93 Crore out of which Rs 6285.10 Crore would be spent on salaries, 2784.71 Crore on Pensions, Rs 2249.67 Crore to remit interest payments and Rs 1937.30 Crore for repayment of loan and Rs 1567.55 Crore on maintenance.
As per Budget estimates for 2012-13 total revenue receipts are estimated at Rs 16342.98 Crore and the total revenue expenditure is estimated to be Rs 15969.19 Crore leaving a revenue surplus of Rs 373.79 Crore. The expected receipts in the capital account of the government are Rs 3331.59 Crore apart from Rs 650 Crore in public accounts including Provident funds etc. Capital expenditure including loan repayments is estimated to be Rs 4274.73 Cr.
The fiscal deficit for 20121-13 is expected to be Rs 1939.35 crore which is 2.88 percent of GDP. Mr Dhumal pegged the 2012-13 annual plan at Rs 3700 crore, which is 12 per cent higher than last year. The budget estimates that for an expenditure of every 100 rupees the state would have Rs 80.73 as total revenue receipts including transfers from the centre. The gap of Rs 19.27 would be met with borrowings.
Out of every Rs 100 of state revenue receipts Rs 30.95 would accrue from the states own tax revenues, Rs 12.25 Crore from non-tax revenue, Rs 14.52 from share in central taxes and Rs 42.28 from central grants. Out of every 100 rupees salaries would account for Rs. 31.05, Pension Rs 13.76, interest of payments for Rs 11.11, loan repayments for Rs 9.57 and remaining Rs 34.51 would be spent on developmental work including other activities.
Some of the higlights of the budget are:
- To facilitate the traders entry tax on non-ferrous metals would be reduced from existing rate of ½ percent to ¼ percent.
- To check the use of tobacco in the state, VAT on cigarettes and other tobacco products would be increased to 18 percent from 16 percent and on ‘bidis’ from 9.75 percent to 11 percent.
- The MLA local area development fund will be increased from Rs.30 lakh to Rs.50 lakh and MLAs will be authorised to sanction schemes anywhere within the district.
- To promote tourism in remote areas in the state, the budget has exempted luxury tax on all new hotels for a period of 10 years from the date the hotel commissioning.
- Financial year 2012-13 being the first year of the 12th five year plan, the State Government has proposed a total outlay of Rs 22,800 crore for the 12th plan to the Planning Commission, which is an increase of 65 percent over the 11th Plan.
- The State Government also announced the release of 7 percent Dearness Allowance to employees which would further burdon the state exchequre to Rs 340 Crore. In addition Mr. Dhumal annouced to release balance of arrears of salary to the pensioners in April 2012.
- Mr. Dhumal also annouced to increase the social security pensions from Rs 330 to 400 per month. The pension for elderly who have attained the age of 80 with now be Rs 600 per month.
- Panchayat Chowkidards and Anganwari workers to get more honorarium