Cash-strapped Himachal Pradesh govt hikes vehicle registration fee; cuts power subsidy
Shimla: In a jolt to consumers amid the Covid-19 crisis, the cash-strapped Himachal Pradesh government has enhanced vehicle registration fee and cut electricity subsidy to generate resources.
The two decisions were taken at a cabinet meeting on Thursday.
The vehicle registration fee has been increased to 7-10% from the existing 2.5-4%.
The registration fee will be 7% for motorcycles up to ₹50,000; 8% for vehicles above ₹50,000 and up to ₹2 lakh and; 10% for above ₹2 lakh.
The car has a duty of 8% to 10%. The government will also charge 100% of composite fee from small contract carriers coming to Himachal Pradesh with riders from outside states. Besides, the arrangement of 15-day wavier for contract carriers who paid the entire tax for a month in one go has been done away with.
The cabinet also decided to withdraw ₹110 crore out of the earlier announced subsidy of ₹480 crore for the Himachal Pradesh State Electricity Board (HPSEB).
This has been done to rationalise the subsidy given to the consumers.
According to government data, 18% of the subsidy goes to 11 lakh consumers using less than 125 units per month and the rest goes to nine lakh consumers with consumption more than 125 units.
There will be no change in the power bills for consumers using electricity less than 125 units.
The consumers with consumption of 125-200 units per month will have an increase of ₹40-₹113 in their monthly bills.
Similarly, those consuming 201 to 300 units will see an increase of ₹115 to ₹200. For consumption of units between 301 up to 400 units, the increase will be ₹200 to ₹290. The increase will be ₹300 to ₹400 for consumption of 401 units or above.
The government claims that the power tariffs in Himachal Pradesh were lowest compared to neighboring states. In Punjab and Uttarakhand, consumers pay ₹6.59 and ₹3.27 per unit, respectively, for the consumption of 125-300 units. In Himachal Pradesh, the rate is ₹2.62.
NO HIKE IN BUS FARES
The government has refused to increase the bus fare but has given in-principle approval for plying buses with 100% occupancy.
The private bus operators in the state are demanding an increase in the bus fare given the reduced occupancy of 60% due to Covid-19. They were demanding an increase in the minimum bus fare from ₹5 to ₹10.