The Opposition Congress on Monday staged a walkout from the HP Assembly in the midst of chief minister Jai Ram Thakur’s reply to the debate on budget proposals for 2021-22 as soon as he blamed that previous Congress governments for the huge loan burden on Himachal Pradesh.
The Congress members shouted slogans in the House and then walked out.
The chief minister condemned the walkout by Congress members and said they should not have walked out without listening to the reply.
He said the budget 2021- 22 is aimed at development and welfare. The chief minister said the Congress party was baffled that the BJP-led state government has come out with such a budget despite the biggest crisis of Covid-19 pandemic in 2020-21.
He said compared to the previous Congress government, which witnessed 67 per cent increase in the loans, the present government has ensured to reduce this increase. “In our three years, the increase in the loans is 27 per cent,” he said.
Thakur said although no government can run without loans, still the present government has taken lesser loans. “We have taken Rs 4804 crore loans lesser than the loan limit so far. In 2021-22, we can take loans upto Rs 9500 crore as per the limit, but we have fixed it at Rs 7747 crore,” he said. He said the total loan burden on the state is Rs 60,544 crore.
He said the state government is totally grounded and is working relentlessly for different sections of society. He said people have benefited from various schemes of the government, as they are being implemented effectively.
“People appreciate the work done by the government and this reflects in the frustration of the opposition party,” he said.
Thakur said he is happy when the opposition members shout in the House, as this shows the government is working.
“We seriously got two out of three years to perform– one year was lost in Covid. The Congress reaction shows that the government has done something,” he said.
He said the government is committed to revise pay scales of employees in the state, but will wait for the Punjab Pay Commission’s report which will come by 31 March, 2021. He said the Punjab government will give the revised pay scales from 1 July, 2021.”We will examine the recommendations of the Punjab Pay Commission,” he said.
Thakur said it was unjustified on the part of opposition Congress to say that HP has witnessed a negative growth rate of 6.2 per cent in 2020-21. “It is purely due to Covid-19. But how can the Congress forget that Punjab has witnessed a negative growth rate of 6.4 per cent and Rajasthan 6.6 per cent,” he said.
He announced to include the general category girls in BPL in the ‘Shagun’ scheme at par with girls in SC, ST and OBC girls– who will be given Rs 31000 by government as ‘Shagun’ at the time of marriage.
Earlier, Congress member Sukhvinder Singh Sukhu raised the issue of discrimination against daughters on caste basis in ‘Shagun’ scheme. He said the government must consider grant of sixth pay commission to the employees in the state in the golden jubilee of the statehood of Himachal Pradesh.
He questioned the government on the outcome of the health scam, in the wake of which the then state BJP chief had resigned.
Former Deputy Speaker and Congress member, JS Negi said it was strange that the BJP leaders are equating the Prime Minister with Shivji and the chief minister with Shri Krishan. He said will this do any good to the people, who are suffering because of the policies of the central and state BJP governments.