Himachal Pradesh Chief Minister Jai Ram Thakur on Saturday said the state has suffered a revenue loss of around Rs 30,000 crore to the economy during the COVID-19 pandemic.
Addressing media at Dharamshala in Kangra district, Thakur said the pandemic had caused extensive damage to the economy in the country and state as well and in the first quarter, the revenue loss in Himachal stood at Rs 1,300 crore.
“Prime Minister Narendra Modi led Union government has provided Rs 950 crore as revenue deficit grant without any deduction in state’s share in central taxes to overcome the present crisis,” he added.
He further stated that Himachal had handled the COVID-19 crisis better than neighbouring states and the state was one of the few states where no cut on salaries and pension of employees had been imposed.
He criticised the opposition party Congress for criticising the state government on COVID-19 issue for sake of it and said it was a different type of crisis and they should understand the implications of the crisis before commenting.
“Congress leaders should see the situation in party ruled states as Punjab, Rajasthan and Maharashtra before commenting on the issue and the leaders should work in coordination with the state government instead of politicising it,” he said.
He justified his visit to Kangra amid COVID-19 pandemic and said though virtual interaction programmes were being held, it was necessary to hear people’s problems and monitor developmental activities.
Thakur said the state government was making efforts to the economy of the state back on track and there was an increase of Rs 737 crore in the state’s liabilities in the crisis.
“The situation in Himachal is under control as the state has a total of 3150 COVID-19 cases and there are only 1156 active cases.
Himachal has a recovery rate of 65 per cent which is at par with national recovery rate while the death rate is 0.45 per cent which is much lower than the national death rate of 2.05 per cent.
Earlier, the state witnessed a spike in cases of Coronavirus due to return of residents who were stuck in different parts of the country while the present spike is due to arrival of migrant labourers who have a huge contribution in the state’s economy,” he said.
The Chief Minister said the state government was taking necessary steps to monitor their entry and they were being quarantined before they were allowed to resume work.
He added the state had got investment clearance of six irrigation, multipurpose and flood control schemes on 7 August in a meeting held at New Delhi.
“Himachal will get 40 MW free electricity generated in the Renuka Dam project and the state will also get 3.15 per cent water share from this project which would be constructed at an estimated cost of Rs 6946.99 crore.
Himachal has also got approval for five proposals related to flood protection works/anti-erosion measures with an estimated cost of Rs 975.70 crore from Central government,” he added.