Shimla: The Himachal Pradesh assembly today passed the state budget amounting to Rs 15,078.92 crore for the year 2010-11. The budget, presented on March 12 by Chief Minister Prem Kumar Dhumal, who also holds the finance portfolio, was passed by voice-vote after days of marathon discussions.
Replying to the budget discussions, Dhumal justified hike of one percent in value-added taxes (VAT) on certain goods, saying the government needed financial resources to cope up with its deficits. The budget exempted food grain and edible oil from hike in VAT. But jewellery, utensils, fabrics, beedi and soaps brought from other states would be costlier. There is, however, no fresh tax on goods of common use and luxury items.
To provide relief to the common man from galloping food inflation, the government also announced that the subsidy scheme for three dals, two edible oils and salt distributed through the public distribution system would continue. A senior government functionary said: The increase in one percent VAT would bring in an additional income of Rs 50 crore.