With an eye on the Lok Sabha elections and amid boycott by the Opposition, chief minister Virbhadra Singh here on Friday tabled a populist, tax-free budget of Rs 23,613 crore for the 2014-15 fiscal.
The CM announced 10 % dearness allowance for government employees to be implemented with effect from July last year. "Employees are the back-bone of the government. Their welfare is of utmost concern to the government," he said while presenting the budget. "I had announced to fill more than 4,000 posts in my last budget speech. I am happy to announce that we have overtaken our target," Virbhadra Singh said in his two-hour speech which was laced with couplets. "The additional annual benefit to government employees and pensioners will be Rs 580 crore," he said.
Virbhadra Singh also announced an increase in daily wages from Rs 150 to Rs 170 and that all daily-wage earners who had completed seven years of service till March 2014 would be regularised. In a move to woo the elderly, the CM announced social security for octogenarians. Now, even octogenarians drawing any other pensions will be eligible for Rs 1,000 security. The decision will benefit 60,000 elderly persons in the state.
Tabling the budget, chief minister Virbhadra Singh said the total budget expenditure estimated for 2014-15 was Rs 23,613 crore. Of this, estimated expenditure on salaries is Rs 7,647 crore, on pensions is Rs 3,496 crore, on estimated interest payments is Rs 2,750 crore, on loan repayments is Rs 1,511 crore, on other loans is Rs 367 crore, and on maintenance is Rs 1,840 crore.
He said as per budget estimates for 2014-15, the total revenue receipts were estimated at Rs 16,522 crore and the total revenue expenditure was estimated at Rs 19,784 crore with a revenue deficit of Rs 3,262 crore. The expected receipts in capital account of the government are Rs 3,860 crore, and Rs 1,125 crore in public account. Capital expenditure including loan repayments is estimated to be Rs 3,830 crore. The fiscal deficit for 2014-15 is likely to be Rs 5,354 crore.
As per the budget estimates, against an expenditure of every Rs 100, the state will have Rs 70.82 as the total receipts, including transfers from the central government, excluding loans. "The gap of Rs.29.18 will be met by borrowings and ways and means advances. Out of every Rs 100 of state revenue receipts, Rs 32.31 will be generated from tax revenues, Rs 8.41 from non-tax revenues, Rs 20.36 from share in central taxes and Rs 38.92 from central grants," he said.
Of every Rs 100 spent, salaries will account for Rs 32.38, pensions Rs 14.80, interest payments for Rs 11.64, loan repayments for Rs 6.40 and the remaining Rs 34.78 will be spent on developmental works, including other activities, the chief minister said.