Dhumal presents tax-free budget in Himachal Pradesh

March 7th, 2008 - 7:19 pm ICT by admin  

Shimla, March 7 (IANS) The Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) government in Himachal Pradesh led by Prem Kumar Dhumal presented a tax-free budget Friday, some two months after taking over power. Eyeing on early Lok Sabha polls, the budget has proposed 18,000 jobs of government teachers.

The budget has also promised a five percent interim relief for the state government employees and pensioners at a total estimated liability of more than Rs.3 billion ($74.7 million).

But the biggest concern in the budget is the gap of Rs.25 for every Rs.100 the government spends, which will have to be met with borrowings.

Chief Minister Dhumal in his budget speech expressed concern over the huge debt burden the state is facing.

“Our government has inherited a huge fiscal problem of total outstanding debt of Rs.229.3 billion from the previous government. This debt commits us to repayment of liabilities next year of almost Rs.30 billion,” said Dhumal.

According to budget estimates, the total revenue receipts are estimated at Rs.93.98 billion and the total revenue expenditure is estimated at Rs.93.3 billion, leaving a surplus of Rs.700 million on revenue account.

“On the capital account, the total expected receipts shall be Rs.31.4 billion and the total capital expenditure, including loan repayments, is Rs.32.14 billion. The fiscal deficit is expected to be 5.4 percent,” he said.

The net capital expenditure in this financial year is up by 76 percent to Rs.19.3 billion.

“As per the budget estimates, against an expenditure of Rs.100, the state will have Rs.75 as total revenue receipts including transfers from the central government. The gap of Rs.25 will have to be met by borrowings,” Dhumal added.

Total expenditure estimate is Rs.125.4 billion.

“Out of every Rs.100 spent, salaries will account for Rs.27, interest payments Rs.15, loan repayment Rs.9, pensions Rs.10, maintenance Rs.7 and the remaining Rs.32 will be spent on all other activities including development,” the chief minister told the house.

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