Himachal Pradesh Chief Minister Thakur Sukhvinder Singh Sukhu on Friday presented his first budget proposal in the Assembly with budget estimates of Rs 53413 crore for the next fiscal year 2023-24, with the fiscal deficit estimated at Rs 9900 crore, which is 4.6 percent of the state’s gross domestic product. The Revenue deficit is Rs 4704 crore.
During the year 2023-24, the income of the state will be Rs 37,999 crore, while the total expenditure will be Rs 42,704 crore.
He announced a cow cess of Rs 10 per bottle on sale of liquor.
The chief minister termed it a budget focused on ‘Green Himachal’ and the health sector.
Presenting the budget, Sukhu announced a monthly allowance of Rs 1500 for 2.31 lakh women in the state. He said that the government has already implemented OPS, while the government has also started work to fulfill the guarantee of Rajiv Gandhi Day-Boarding School.
“The government has fulfilled its three guarantees,” he said.
He said that all the women of the state would be given a monthly allowance of Rs 1500 in five phases.
He announced provision of employment to 30,000 unemployed youth of the state in the government sector during the next financial year.
Out of these, 5000 posts will be filled in Jal Shakti Department alone, while the remaining 25,000 posts will be filled in health, technical education, education, police, revenue, animal husbandry, Panchayati Raj, electricity board and various departments.
The chief minister announced the development of Himachal Pradesh as ‘Green Energy’ state by March 31, 2026.
He said that in the year 2023-24, 500 MW solar power projects would be set up in the state.
He announced a 40 percent subsidy to the youth of the state for setting up solar power from 250 KW to 2 MW on their own or leased land. He announced to develop the state as a model state for electric vehicles.
The Chief Minister said that electric vehicles will be promoted in a phased manner with the help of the private and government sector.
In the first phase, six national and state highways will be developed as green corridors through electric vehicles. The Chief Minister announced subsidies at the rate of 50 per cent up to a maximum of Rs 50 lakh to private bus operators for purchase of e-buses and private truck operators for purchase of e-trucks.
Similarly, 50 percent subsidy will be given to private operators for setting up charging stations.
The Chief Minister announced Rs 1,000 crore to convert 1,500 diesel buses of the State Road Transport Corporation into e-buses in a phased manner.
He also announced a subsidy of Rs 25,000 each on electric scooty to 20,000 meritorious girl students.
The chief minister said that a green hydrogen policy would be formulated to make Himachal a leading green hydrogen economy. He announced to develop two panchayats in each district into green panchayats on a pilot basis.
He also announced the start of the Himachal Pradesh Power Sector Development Program with the assistance of World Bank at a cost of Rs. 2000 crore and said that a centralized cell would be set up for efficient management of sale and purchase of energy.
He also announced the initiation of the land acquisition process for the proposed GreenField Airport at Balh in Mandi and the expansion of Kangra Airport, the construction of heliports at district headquarters, and starting of Helitaxi operations from Sanjauli and Baddi soon.
To develop Kangra district as the tourism capital of Himachal Pradesh, he announced the development of water sports, Shikara, cruise, yacht facilities at Pongdam and the construction of a zoo at Bankhandi at a cost of Rs 300 crore.
The Chief Minister announced to start robotic surgeries in all the medical colleges of the state in a phased manner, to develop emergency departments in all the medical colleges, and to develop one health institute in each assembly constituency as a model health institute.
He announced the setting up of the Centre of Excellence and the Department of Nuclear Medicine for Cancer Care, besides starting PET scan facilities in all Medical Colleges.
For the completion of incomplete construction works in Hamirpur, Nahan and Chamba Medical Colleges he announced Rs 100 crore.
The chief minister announced the opening of Rajiv Gandhi Day-Boarding Schools in every assembly constituency, job fairs twice a year in colleges, setting up libraries in every senior secondary school, giving tablets to 10,000 meritorious students, and digital hardware in 762 schools under the ICT scheme.