By : Mohan Verma
Himachal state assembly today passed the general budget for 2014-15 in the absence of opposition and also adopted the related appropriation bill authorizing the state government to spend Rs. 25,543.62 crore from the consolidated fund.
The house discussed and voted the demands pertaining to irrigation and public health, food and supplies, health and family welfare, environment and forests and public works department while the remaining demands were passed without discussion after the Speaker B.B.L. Butail applied the guillotine.
The opposition BJP which boycotted the budget speech of Chief Minister Virbhadra Singh (who holds portfolio of finance) also boycotted the discussion and did not participate in discussion on demands. The budget was presented on February 7 and discussions concluded in two days in the absence of the opposition while discussion on demands were also concluded in three days.
The house also unanimously adopted a government resolution expressing gratitude to the union government for accepting the long pending of “One rank, One pension” to ex- servicemen.
Moving the resolution, Chief Minister Virbhadra Singh said that the decision would benefit more than 1.20 lakh ex-servicemen in Himachal and the union government has earmarked Rs. 500 crore for this purpose. Social justice and empowerment minister Dhani Ram Shandil hailed the decision and said that war veterans of 1962 , 1965 and 1971 and their dependents would benefit from the decision which is a befitting tribute to the sacrifices made by our jawans.
Health and family welfare minister Kaul Singh said that the brave soldiers from Himachal have made great sacrifices and state’s quota in recruitment in the Army should be increased.