Highlights of Himachal Pradesh Budget 2023-24

Himachal Pradesh budget for 2023-24 gives a new direction to economy of the state for its green, healthy and prosperous future. New initiatives have been proposed in this budget to develop Himachal Pradesh as ‘Green State’ by 31st March, 2026. This budget has been presented to create employment opportunities through investment in basic infrastructure in tourism and other sectors and to ensure timely availability of health, education and other Government services with the application of technology. Main points of budget:-

1. Budget size proposed as Rs.53 thousand 413 crore.

2. To develop Himachal Pradesh as Green Energy State by 31st March, 2026.

3. Priority to Tourism Development.

4. Expansion of health services through World Class Technology.

5. Initiatives for improvement in quality of education.

6. Expansion in the social security net.

7. New opportunities in Agriculture, Horticulture, Animal Husbandry and Fisheries sectors.

8. Promoting basic infrastructure and private investment

9. Digitization and Governance.

10. Welfare of para workers, MNGEGS workers, small traders and other categories

11. Efforts for additional resource generation .

Expansion of Green Energy . To develop Himachal Pradesh as a ‘Green Energy State’ by 31st March, 2026.

A target to set up Solar Energy Projects of 500 MW in 2023-24.  40% subsidy to youth of the State for setting up of Solar Energy Projects with the capacity ranging from 250 KW to 2MW on their own / leased land.  Himachal Pradesh will be developed as a ‘Model State for Electric Vehicles’. Electric vehicles will be encouraged in a phased manner with the collaboration of private and public sectors. In the first phase, 6 National and State Highways will be developed as Green Corridors for electric vehicles. The private bus/truck operators will be given subsidy of 50 percent with the maximum limit of Rs.50 lakh for purchase of e-bus and e-truck. Private operators will be given subsidy of 50 percent for establishing Electric Charging Stations. 1,500 diesel buses of HRTC will be replaced with e-buses in phased manner with an expenditure of Rs.1,000 crore.  A subsidy of Rs.25,000 each to 20,000 meritorious girl students for purchase of ‘Electric Scooty’. To make Himachal Pradesh a leading Green Hydrogen Based Economy, a Green Hydrogen Policy will be brought.  Hydro Power Projects with capacity of 1,000 MWs will be completed.  2 Gram Panchayats in each district will be developed as Green Panchayats on pilot basis.

 ‘Himachal Pradesh Power Sector Development Programme’ costing Rs.2,000 crore with help of World Bank will be launched.  EHV Sub-Stations, 5 transmission lines at a cost of Rs.464 crore and a ‘Joint Control Centre’ will be established by the HPTCL.  A ‘Centralized Cell’ will be set up for efficient management of sale and purchase of power. Tourism Development . Land acquisition process will be started for Mandi and Kangra Airports.  Heliports will be constructed/developed at all district headquarters.  Heli-taxi services will be operationalized from Sanjauli and Baddi shortly. Kangra district will be developed as “Tourism Capital” of Himachal Pradesh. A “Golf course” meeting international standards will be developed.  “Tourist Village” will be established for promoting local art and culture.  Old Age Homes will be developed for senior citizens. ü Development of Ice skating and roller-skating rinks.  Promotion of water sports, shikara, cruise, yacht facilities in Pong Dam.

 A zoo will be set up in Bankhandi at a cost of Rs.300 crore.  A comprehensive tourism development scheme has been prepared with a cost of Rs.1,311 crore with the assistance of the Asian Development Bank (ADB) for development of eco tourism, beautification of heritage sites and tourism facilities in Kangra, Hamirpur, Kullu, Shimla, Mandi and other districts. To start skilling courses in tourism and hospitality sectors for the youth of Himachal Pradesh, the ‘Centre of Excellence’ at Waknaghat will be completed at a cost of Rs.68 crore. 3. Strengthening and Expansion of Health Services . Robotic Surgery facility will be provided in all Medical Colleges in a phased manner. The buildings of Medical Colleges of Hamirpur, Nahan and Chamba will be completed with a cost of Rs. 100 crore and dedicated to the public and Nursing Colleges in these Medical Colleges will be started.  The Casualty Department of all Medical Colleges will be upgraded to Emergency Medicine Department.  One health institute in each Assembly Constituency will be developed as “Adarsh Swasthaya Sansthan”.  A ‘Centre of Excellence’ for Cancer Care and Nuclear Medicine Department will be set up in Medical College Hamirpur with a cost of Rs.50 crore.  PET Scan in all the Medical Colleges of the State.

 “Himachal Pradesh Medical Services Corporation” will be established for procurement of quality medicines, machinery and equipment for health institutions.  Pregnant women and children suffering from Type-I diabetes will be provided insulin pumps to protect them from serious infections. Initiatives for Improvement in Quality of Education  Emphasis on qualitative improvement of education.  ‘Rajiv Gandhi Government Day-Boarding Schools’ will be opened in each Assembly Constituency with sports facilities, swimming pools etc. These will be composite schools from pre-primary to class-12.  To enable youth of the State to prepare for various competitive exams, construction of libraries with the access to National Digital Library and other essential books.  Employment Melas and special placement drives will be organized twice in a year in colleges.  To improve quality of education and introduce Information and Communication Technology (ICT), library room will be established in each Senior Secondary School, Tablets will be provided for 10,000 meritorious students, digital hardware and software in 762 Schools under ‘ICT Scheme’, Tablets for 17,510 primary regular teachers and arrangement of desks for 40,000 children will be made.  Increase in diet money of students living in sports hostels from Rs.120 to Rs.240 per day.

Value Added Courses in Technical Education, such as Robotics, Block-Chain Technology, Cyber Security, Cloud Computing, Data Analytics, Artificial Intelligence and Machine learning, Electric Vehicles Mechanic, Maintenance Mechanic, Solar Technician, Drone Technician, Mechatronics and Internet of Things (IoTs) Technician etc. to be introduced. Drone Service Technician Course will be started in 11 Government Industrial Training Institutes of the State in a phased manner. Under the World Bank funded Project STRIVE, infrastructure and other facilities will be improved in 12 ITIs.  ‘MERITE Project’ will be implemented in 4 engineering colleges and 8 polytechnics in the next five years.  Kaushal Vikas Nigam will train 500 youth each in Drone sector, Electric Vehicle, and Solar Energy sector. Expansion in the Social Security Net. To implement one of the guarantees, 2.31 lakh women will get the pension of Rs.1,500 per month on which Government will spend an amount of Rs.416 crore per year.  A scheme “Mukhya Mantri Sukh-Ashray Yojana” for orphans, semi-orphans, specially abled, destitute women and old people. The orphans/ persons upto the age of 27 years will be known as ‘Children of State’ and State Government will look after them by following the principle of ‘Sarkaar hee Mata – Sarkaar hee Pita’.

Under this scheme, ‘Mukhya Mantri Sukh-Ashray Kosh’ with the provision of Rs.101 crore, upgradation of Shelter Homes for children, destitute women and elderly persons with all modern facilities, construction of ‘Adarsh Gram Sukh-Ashray Parisar’ in Sundernagar and Jwalamukhi, educational tour outside the State once in a year for orphans including facility of air travel and stay in three star hotels. The expenditure on account of education, hostel, professional training and skill upgradation for the orphans between the age of 18-27 years will be borne by the State Government.  “Mukhya Mantri Rojgar Sankalp Seva” will be started to provide employment opportunities to the youth at State, National and International level.  Removal of the condition of income limit and Gram Sabha approvals to enable widows and Divyangjans to get pension. 9,000 new beneficiaries will be benefited under the Divyangjan “Raahat Bhatta Yojana.”  40,000 new eligible persons under social security pension.  A new scheme “Mukhya Mantri Vidhwa Evam Ekal Nari Awas Yojana” for construction of houses for 7,000 eligible widows and single women.  Education loan at the rate of 1 percent under new scheme “Mukhya Mantri Vidyarthi Protsahan Yojana” for eligible poor children to pursue professional higher education.

 A subsidy of Rs.25,000 each to 20,000 meritorious girl students for purchase of ‘Electric Scooty’. Launch of “Mukhya Mantri Surakshit Bachpan Abhiyaan”.  Launch of “Nasha Evam Maadak Padarth Mukt Himachal Abhiyaan”. Concrete steps will be taken to stop drug trafficking and to arrest criminals. Illegal property earned through drug trafficking will be confiscated. 6. New opportunities in Agriculture, Horticulture, Animal Husbandry and Fisheries sectors  Cluster approach based Integrated and Comprehensive Agriculture Development Scheme “Him Unnati”.  Subsidy for using wire mesh for fencing fields under ‘Mukhya Mantri Khet Sanrakshan Yojana.’  Tractors will be provided to farmers at a subsidy of 50 percent under ‘Sub-Mission on Agriculture Mechanization’. To encourage start-ups in agriculture, animal husbandry, horticulture and fisheries, credit to be given at an interest of 2 percent. A new scheme “Him-Ganga” to increase the milk production.  Milk processing plants will be established and upgraded.  Veterinary service will be started through 44 mobile vans.

 Development of horticulture in 7 districts with a cost of Rs.1,292 crore under ‘HP SHIVA Project’.  Grading/ packing houses and cold stores will be set up in association with FPOs. An action plan will be drawn for fish farming based on new technology and interventions. 20 hectares new fish ponds will be constructed in private sector along with 120 new trout units. Fishermen will be provided 1,000 Cast Nets at subsidy. 80 percent subsidy for construction of fish ponds.  To facilitate the training of fishermen, a training Centre will be set up in Carp Farm Gagret. Promoting Basic Infrastructure and Private Investment Financial assiatance will be given for projects related to machinery and equipment’s in Dental Clinics, purchase of e-taxi, installation of solar power projects up to 1 MW among others under “Rajiv Gandhi Swarozgaar Yojana”. Subsidy of 50 percent will be provided to all eligible sections on purchase of e-taxi.  A new “Industrial Investment Policy” and establishment of “Bureau of Investment Promotion”, to facilitate the investors.  Private sector investment target of about Rs.20,000 crore in 2023-24 with a potential of providing 90,000 direct and indirect employment. For promoting ‘One District One Product’, “Unity Mall” will be established.

50 ‘Him-Ira’ shops will be set up in the State for marketing and sale of the products of Self-Help Groups. 1,040 ‘Amrit Sarovars’ will be completed by 15th August, 2023.  Permits will be issued to run e-vehicles on 500 identified bus routes.  Construction of 12 bus stands.  Bus Port will be built in Hamirpur at a cost of Rs.10 crore. To address the parking problem in urban areas, construction of large parking lots will be undertaken in PPP mode. Construction of Multi Utility Duct in Shimla on pilot basis and a policy to lay the various utility lines.  Under Pradhan Mantri Gram Sadak Yojana (PMGSY-I&II), construction of 150 km new roads, upgradation of 650 km roads, cross drainage work on 200 km roads and construction of 9 bridges. Under PMGSY-III, 45 roads having length of 440 kms with a cost of Rs.422 crores sanctioned. The State Government has sent proposal of Rs.4,700 crore to the Central Government for upgrading 5 National Highways of 178 kms length from 2 lanes to 4 lanes.  Construction of 250 kms of new roads, 350 kms of cross drainages, 425 kms of metalled roads and 27 bridges under NABARD.  5 road/bridge projects worth Rs.500 crore have been sent to Government of India for funding under CRIF.

Launch of new scheme “Mukhya Mantri Sadak Evam Rakh-Rakhav Yojana.” 10 percent of total project cost will be earmarked for source sustainability in the Detailed Project Reports and Estimates of water supply schemes and irrigation projects. Sanitation facilities will be provided in 5 cities of the State namely Manali, Bilaspur, Palampur, Nahan and Karsog.  5,000 posts of various categories for maintaining and operating drinking water supply, irrigation and sewerage schemes. Setting up a new town at Jathia Devi in Shimla. Digitization and Governance  e-office system will be established in State Secretariat, Directorates and Deputy Commissioner Offices. Whatsapp and Chatbot facilities will be used for ‘Mukhya Mantri Seva Sankalp Helpline’.  A mobile application will be developed for citizens to report stray animals, which will be integrated with the ‘Mukhya Mantri Seva Sankalp Helpline’.  To eliminate delay in providing various benefits to beneficiaries, DBT portal will be developed.  A comprehensive policy to promote drone usage and drone technology, and drone enabled administration.  Expansion of State Data Centre.

Setting up a registry ‘Him Parivar’ to have the relevant data of all families at one place. This will help people to get benefits of various Government schemes smoothly.  Expansion of 4G and 5G services in the State.  Number of Lok Mitra Kendras will be increased to 6,000.  Computerization of Primary Agriculture Cooperative Societies. Welfare of para workers, MGNREGS workers, small traders and other categories.  With an increase in honorarium, Anganwadi workers will be getting Rs.9,500 per month, Mini Anganwadi workers Rs.6,600, Anganwadi helpers Rs.5,200, Asha workers Rs.5,200, Mid-day meal workers Rs.4,000, Water carrier (Education Department) Rs.4,400, Jal Rakshak Rs. 5,000, Jal Shakti Department’s Multi-Purpose Workers of Jal Shakti Vibhag Rs. 4,400, Para fitters and pump-operators Rs.6,000, Daily wage earners Rs.375 per day with an increase of Rs.25, Outsourced workers Rs.11,250, Panchayat Chowkidar Rs.7,000, Revenue Chowkidar Rs.5,500, Revenue Lambardar Rs. 3,700. Besides these, increase in the honorarium of Silai Teacher of Rs.500, SMC Teacher of Rs.500, IT Teacher Rs.2,000 and SPOs of Rs.500, per month.  In Panchayati Raj Institutions, the honorarium of Zila Parishad, Chairperson and Vice-Chairperson, will be increased by Rs.5,000 per month.  Honourarium of Member Zila Parishad, Chairperson and Vice-Chairperson of Panchayat Samiti, Member of Panchayat Samiti, Pradhan and Up-Pradhan of Gram Panchayat will be increased by Rs.500 per month, and

Member of Gram Panchayat will get an increase of Rs.200 per sitting. In Urban Local Bodies, the honorarium of Mayor and Deputy Mayor of Municipal Corporation will be increased by Rs.5,000 per month.  Councilor of Municipal Corporation, President Nagar Parishad, Vice-President Nagar Parishad, Councilor Nagar Parishad, Pradhan Nagar Panchayat, Up-Pradhan Nagar Panchayat and Member Nagar Panchayat will get an increase of Rs.500 per month in honorarium.  MGNREGA wages will be increased by Rs.28 which will benefit 9 lakh MGNREGA workers. Additional, Rs.100 crore on account of this will be borne by the State Government.  Under “Mukhya Mantri Laghu Dukandaar Kalyan Yojana” 50 percent subsidy on interest up to the loan of Rs.50 thousand will be provided to small businesmen like Tailor, Barber, Tea Stall Owner & Street Vander’s, Kriyana Shops etc. Others Under ‘Vidhayak Kshetra Vikas Nidhi Yojana’, the amount will be increased to Rs.2 crore 10 lakh per Assembly Constituency. ‘Discretionary Grants’ for Hon’ble MLA will be increased to Rs.13 lakh per Assembly Constituency. For ‘MLA priority schemes’, new guidelines will be issued based on the suggestions made by the Hon’ble MLAs.

To curb illegal mining in the border areas ‘Flying Squad’ will be constituted.  For providing the information about buses, charging stations and other facilities GIS based “Vehicle Location App” will be launched by HRTC. The work of online registration in Revenue Department will be implemented in the entire State.The “Swamitva Yojna” will be implemented in the remaining districts by March, 2024. “Himachal Pradesh Ceiling on Land Holding Act, 1972”, will be amended and daughters will be made a separate unit. To provide weather information in Lahaul-Spiti and Kinnaur districts, Doppler Radars will be installed. 1,500 community volunteers will be trained in flood, landslide and earthquake prone districts under “Apda Mitra Yojna”  Constitution of District Level Committees for quick disposal of Forest Clearance Cases. Green cover to be expanded under “Mukhya Mantri Green Cover Mission”  Himachal Pradesh Land Code and Land Records Manual will be amended for the convenience of the general public and simplification in the processes.  Residential facilities will be made available to police personnel in urban areas.

 Drones will be used by the Police Department to keep a close watch on crimes and mining activities. “Himachal Utsav” will be organized in major cities of different States to showcase art and culture of Himachal Pradesh. 25,000 posts will be filled up. Efforts for Additional Resource Generation  To reduce the loss of GST compensation, “GST Revenue Enhancement Project” will be started. Under ‘Sadbhavna Yojana 2023’ pending cases under various Acts of traders, manufacturers, wholesalers and retailers will be settled.  Changes in Excise Policy made to make it more transparent. Milk Cess of Rs. 10 per bottle of liquor will be imposed, this levy will be used to increase the income of milk producers.  Imposition of ‘Water Cess’ on the water used for power generation. Conclusion The first budget of the new Government will prove to be an important milestone in bringing about systemic changes. Investment in public and private sectors has been given an increased emphasis to create employment for youth of the State in Government and private sector. Unlike previous budgets, generation of additional resources has been stressed upon in this budget for the first time. This budget has a marked orientation to a comprehensive Action Plan for making all services more effective.

New schemes announced in the Budget Speech 2023-24

1. Rajiv Gandhi Government Model Day-Boarding School

2. Mukhya Mantri Sukh-Ashray Yojana

3. Mukhya Mantri Vidhwa Evam Ekal Nari Awas Yojana

4. Mukhya Mantri Vidyarthi Protshan Yojana

5. Mukhya Mantri Surakshit Bachpan Abhiyaan

6. Him Unnati for transforming agriculture

7. Him-Ganga for increasing milk prodiction

8. Mukhya Mantri Laghu Dukandar Kalyan Yojana

9. Mukhya Mantri Green Cover Mission 10. Mukhya Mantri Sadak Evam Rakh-Rakhav Yojana

11. Rajiv Gandhi Swarozgar Yojana

12. Sadbhavna Yojana-2023

13. Mukhya Mantri Rozgar Sankalp Seva

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