Himachal Pradesh Chief Minister Sukhvinder Singh Sukhu on Saturday presented the annual Budget of Rs 58,444 crore for 2024-25 with focus on the agriculture sector, and announced an increase in the Minimum Support Price (MSP) for milk.

Presenting his second state Budget, Sukhu, who also holds the finance portfolio, hiked the MSP of cow milk from Rs 38 to Rs 45 per litre and buffalo milk from Rs 47 to Rs 55 per litre.

Himachal is the first state to give MSP on milk, he said.

He said liabilities of all milk cooperative societies will be waived off and Rs 150 crore will be spent on strengthening infrastructure for milk procurement and its processing.

The state’s fiscal deficit is Rs 10,784 crore, which is 4.75 per cent of state domestic product, while the size of the annual Budget is Rs 58,444 crore, the government said.

Sukhu said of every Rs 100, Rs 28 will be used for development works, Rs 25 on salaries, Rs 17 on pensions, Rs 11 on interest payment, Rs 9 on loan repayment and Rs 10 on grants to autonomous institutions.

He also announced 4 per cent Dearness Allowance from April 1, 2024 which will put a financial burden of Rs 580 crore on the state exchequer.

The CM announced Rajiv Gandhi Prakriyat Kheti Yojna, under which 36,000 farmers — 10 farmers from every panchayat — will be trained in natural farming techniques.

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Sukhu further said universal cartons will be introduced for apple packaging and horticulture tourism will be encouraged.

He reiterated the state government’s resolve to make Himachal Pradesh a green state by 2026.

He said the state government announced a special package of Rs 4,500 crore for disaster-affected people after last year’s monsoon, and added that the Centre had not given any special package.

He blamed the “financial mismanagement of the previous BJP government in the state” for Himachal’s total debt, which, he said, stands at Rs 87,788 crore.

Sukhu said a sum of Rs 22,406 crore was due to Himachal from the Centre that included a proposal of Rs 9,906 crore post-disaster need assessment sent to the Centre, Rs 4500 crore due from Bhakra Beas Management Board (BBMB) as power arrears, and Rs 8,000 crore employees’ contribution under the pension scheme.

Sukhu said the state government will introduce new policies to promote startups, encourage sportspersons besides making HP a prominent destination for filmmakers and to put a tab on illegal mining activities.

Other announcements included setting up of the first modernised de-addiction and rehabilitation centre at Kandaghat in Solan district, appointment of 6,000 nursery teachers, and monthly review meeting of schools.

He also said 327 old diesel buses will be replaced with electric buses and vehicle scrap centres will be established in the state.

The CM also announced to increase the daily wages of MGNREGA workers by Rs 60 from Rs 240 to 300 per day. 

(This report has been published as part of an auto-generated syndicate wire feed. Apart from the headline, no editing has been done in the copy by ABP Live.)


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