Himachal to cut down expenditure

Himachal Pradesh’s loan liability by the end of the fiscal 2012-13 is likely to be over Rs 28,513 crore, and the government plans to fix it by cutting wasteful expenditure, chief minister Virbhadra Singh has said.

“We will improve the financial health of the state by cutting wasteful expenditure,” the chief minister said. He said the focus of the government in the next five years will be on education, health, infrastructure like roads and agriculture.

In his budget speech on Thursday, Virbhadra Singh told the Assembly that the state’s loan liability has increased by Rs 7,272 crore in the past five years.

The loan dues, which were Rs 21,241 crore in March 2008, are expected to be Rs 28,513 crore in March this year, the chief minister said.

Singh, who also holds the finance portfolio, said the salary burden on the state which was Rs 2,615 crore in 2007-08 was increased to Rs 6,956 crore in 2013-14. Similarly, the pension burden has increased during this period from Rs 880 crore to Rs 2,839 crore and the interest payment burden from Rs 1,778 crore to Rs 2,431 crore. The chief minister blamed implementation of the Pay Commission recommendations for impacting the finances of the state.

“A plan outlay of Rs 22,800 crore for the 12th five year plan has been approved from the Planning Commission, which is an increase of 65 per cent over the 11th plan period,” he said.

Tourism and horticulture  are major contributors to HP’s economic development.

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