Levying of user charges for services offered by the government and rationalisation of employee strength are among the many recommendations by a cabinet sub-panel to mobilise financial resources for the state. The panel has submitted a 45-page report.
Irrigation and public health minister Vidya Stokes headed the panel, formed a year ago, that has now come out with its recommendations. The panel has also directed various departments to prepare a report on user charges that would be placed before the cabinet for consideration.
With 38% of the state government's total budget of `2,80,000 crore going to paying salaries of two lakh employees, including staff employed on contract, rationalisation has been an area of focus.
'Set up land bank'
The panel has recommended that the government must set up land bank so that chunks of land could be leased out for different projects including those in tourism.
The panel has also recommended that the state government should step up efforts to secure `4200 crore as the state's share in the different Bhakra Beas Management Board projects. The panel has also suggested that the penalty imposed on promoters for delays in completion of projects, especially in the hydel-power sector, be raised five times.
To raise income from its forest resources, the panel wants the state to adopt the Uttarakhand model and earn revenue from selling the produce. The panel has also recommended that medical expenses of the employees be cut as it pays nearly `200 crore in reimbursements of medical bills.
Besides Stokes, the other members of the panel were industries minister Mukesh Agnihotri, transport minister GS Bali, chief secretary P Mitra and the principal secretary, finance, Dr Shrikant Baldi.
The panel felt that majority of the computerised offices were still hiring data operators and in the post-computerisation era, the government machinery has to gear up for better performance under stricter fiscal discipline and delivery mechanisms. New government offices should only be established as per needs. Employees must understand that the expenses of the government are much higher than earlier, the panel noted.
State debt mounts, PSUs loss put at `2,440 crore
The committee's recommendations come in the light of increasing debt burden on the state government, which now stands at over `34,000 crore. In such a scenario, development projects have been hit and execution is slow as funds trickle in at a snail's pace.
To counter the debt and to generate resources, the government had also been mulling to merge loss making Public Sector Units (PSUs). A report on the PSUs tabled during the budget session in the Vidhan Sabha this year painted a grim picture. Total losses of 22 Himachal-government owned PSUs increased to `662 crore in 2012-13, while cumulative losses have touched `2,442 crore by March 2013. Eleven PSUs incurred perpetual losses to the tune of `3,040.10 crore, the profits of other 11 PSUs stood at `598 crore, resulting in the net losses of `2,442 crore.
Levying of user charges for services offered by the government
Rationalisation of government employee strength
Setting up a land back so that chunks of land could be leased out for different projects including those in tourism
Penalty imposed on promoters for delays in completion of projects, especially in the hydel-power sector, must be increased by five times
To raise income from its forest resources, some of its products can be sold