The Congress government presented its first Budget on Friday, announcing a monthly allowance for over two lakh women, a “çow cess” on alcohol, and subsidies on electric vehicles as part of a plan to make Himachal Pradesh a “green state” in three years. In his over two-hour Budget speech in the state assembly, Chief Minister Sukhvinder Singh Sukhu said 30,000 vacant posts in government departments will be filled in the coming financial year. Counting in the private sector, the government hopes to create about 90,000 new jobs. Tipplers will pay an extra Rs 10 on each bottle of liquor as “cow cess” under the 2023-24 Budget, fetching the government an additional Rs 100 crore – money meant to help dairy farmers.
The CM said it will protect milk producers from price fluctuations and spend Rs 500 crore this year on “Him Ganga Yojana” for them, beginning with a pilot version. Fish farmers will get an 80 per cent subsidy for building small reservoirs. As part of the state’s green push, the government will promote hydropower and solar energy.Sukhu said 1,500 diesel buses of the state roadways corporation will be replaced with electric ones in a phased manner at a cost of Rs 1,000 crore. Private bus and truck operators will get a 50 per cent subsidy – up to a total of Rs 50 lakh – if they buy e-vehicles instead of the ones run on diesel. Sukhu said 20,000 girls studying at government institutions will get Rs 25,000 each to help them buy electric scooters.Young people will get a 50 per cent subsidy for setting up charging points for electric vehicles and a 40 per cent subsidy for setting up small hydel project of up to two megawatts.Two panchayats in every district will be turned into e-panchayats.