Hailing the Budget presented by Chief Minister Shri Virbhadra Singh as tax free, balanced, productive and in the benefit of common-man, Smt. Vidya Stokes, Irrigation and Public Health Minister thanked the Chief Minister for the same and also making a provision of Rs. 1483 crore for irrigation and public health sector.
She said that added priority had been made in the budget to cover all sections of the society and appropriate financial provisions had been made to launch and implement numerous schemes which were promised by the Congress Party in its Election Manifesto during the recent Vidhan Sabha elections. She said that adequate relief had been given to unemployed, employees and teachers besides benefits to farmers and horticulturists.
She lauded the proposal for setting up State Skill Development Council in the budget and making provision of Rs. 100 crore for the same and hailed the decision of allowance to be given to unemployed for skill development which would benefit lakhs of un-employed youth in the State. She said that it was a tax free budget which would not burden the common-man. The announcement to enhance social security pension besides, decision to set up a High level Women Welfare Board would be very helpful for welfare of women. She also welcomed the decision to fill up 20 percent posts for women in police force.
Smt. Stokes said that State Government's decision to spend 50 percent of budget on social sector including health, education, food security and subsidy on electricity was an upright decision. She said that 2000 handpumps would be set up in the State besides strengthening the irrigation sector. She eulogized the budget in which a provision of Rs. 200 crore had been made for implementing new irrigation schemes in the State, adding that this would facilitate irrigating 50% of the total net sown area.In addition to this, she said that decision to provide drinking water facilities to additional hamlets of the State would provide relief to lakhs of rural population.She lauded the proposal of Rs. 230 crore in the budget for IPH department for payment of energy charges in order to provide adequate and better water supply and irrigation facilities to the people of the State at concessional rates. She also appreciated the proposal of Rs. 270 crore as subsidy for domestic consumers on electricity.
She said that a policy was being framed for PTA teachers and hailed the decision to increase their honorarium.She said that the growth rate of Himachal Pradesh was 6.2 percent which was one percent over and above the national average. She hailed the decision of giving 85 percent subsidy on polyhouses under both the schemes. Earlier two separate schemes, one under HTM and other under NABARD was giving subsidy of 50% and 80% respectively on poly houses and henceforth a proposal of 85% subsidy for small and marginal farmers for construction of houses was a welcome decision. Besides a proposal of subsidy of 80% on anti hail nets was a judicious decision to benefit fruit growers, she remarked.