Friday, January 27, 2023

First budget of Cong govt in HP to present clear picture: Deputy CM

Himachal Pradesh is in a “financial mess” due to the “extravagant” spending by the previous BJP government that took loans to the tune of Rs 25,000 crore and the cabinet will decide whether to bring out a white paper on the state’s financial status, Deputy Chief Minister Mukesh Agnihotri said on Thursday.
He also said that the Congress is committed to implementing all poll promises especially restoration of the Old Pension Scheme (OPS).
The first budget of the government would present a clear picture of the financial position and the roadmap of development would be unfolded, he told PTI in an interview.
“The Congress government is committed to implementing all poll promises, especially the ten guarantees and exercise is on to prepare a roadmap”, he said, adding the government is committed to taking a major decision on OPS in the first meeting of the cabinet.
The finance department is working out the implications of poll promises with focus on restoration of OPS and Rs 1500 per month to women and process to fulfil the promises would be accelerated after the proposals are approved by the cabinet.
Flaying the previous BJP government for the state’s financial mess, he said the Jai Ram Thakur government took a loan of Rs 25,000 crore in the last five years.
Himachal is faced with a debt of Rs 70,000 crore out of which loans to the tune of RS 25,000 crore were raised by the previous BJP government in the past five years.
When asked how the government would fulfil poll promises, Agnihotri said focus would be on resource mobilisation, increasing revenue from excise, recovery of royalty in mining sector and efforts would be made for getting the state’s share from neighbouring states, reducing wasteful spending and seeking financial assistance from the Centre.
The government has decided in-principle to review the announcements made by the previous BJP government since April 2022 and projects launched without budget provisions would be de-notified, he said.
Taking strong note of the criticism of his government by the BJP, he said the government is only 12 days old and needs time to settle.
Opposition leaders are vying to attack the government and the BJP is “frustrated” after defeat, he said.
“Raj badla hai, Rivaz nahin Badla” (Government has changed but the tradition has not changed) and the government with the mandate of the people will walk, run and perform and would complete its full term,” Agnihotri asserted.
The deputy chief minister also said that losses have mounted to Rs 1,350 crore in the transport department held by him. Buses are running in loss on six percent routes, 1000 buses needs replacement. About 200 to 250 buses would be replaced by electric buses to be plied on short routes and charging centres would be set up.
Luxury vehicles from all over country have been registered in Himachal at a low rate and about 150 luxury buses from other states are running in the state and “I have sought status report in this regard from the officials in 15 days,” he said.
Tourism industry would be given a boost by creating facilities for tourists and religious tourism would be promoted, he added.

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