HP govt tables bill to impose water cess on hydropower generation
The bill would repeal the Himachal Pradesh Water Cess on Hydropower Generation Ordinance promulgated by the governor on February 15
The Himachal Pradesh Water Cess on Hydropower Generation Bill was introduced in the Vidhan Sabha on Tuesday.
The bill would repeal the Himachal Pradesh Water Cess on Hydropower Generation Ordinance promulgated by the governor on February 15.
Introducing the bill, deputy chief minister Mukesh Agnihotri said it has been brought on the analogy of Uttarakhand and Jammu and Kashmir, which have imposed water cess. It would be applicable to 172 hydropower projects with power generation of 10,991MW, yielding annual revenue of about ₹4,000 crore, he said.
Agnihotri said some people had moved the court against the bill in Uttarakhand and Jammu and Kashmir, but their pleas were rejected, adding that the main purpose of the bill is to generate revenue.
The bill provides for setting up the state commission for water cess to discharge the functions under the act and entail an annual expenditure of ₹23 crore. The commission headed by the chief secretary would not have more than four members, who will have a tenure of three years subject to the maximum age limit of 65 years.
Chief minister Sukhvinder Singh Sukhu said the bill has been brought after serious considerations and implementing the act is not an easy task. The government would take more steps to increase the revenue, he added.
Under the act, no user will draw water from any source for hydropower generation, except in accordance with law and pay water cess as fixed.
Hydroelectric projects with head up to 30 metre will have to pay 10 paise per cubic metre cess; those with head above 30 metre and up to 60 metre will have to pay 25 paise; projects with head between 60 and 90 metres will have to pay 35 paise as cess and those with head above 90 metre will have to pay 50 paise per cubic metre cess.
CM presents ₹13,141-crore supplementary grants
Chief minister Sukhu presented the supplementary demand for grants amounting to ₹13,141 crore in the legislative assembly with ₹6,004.63 crore meant for repayment of ways and means- advance/overdraft and ₹ 1,260.65 crore for pensions and other retirement benefits.
Presenting the first and final instalment of the supplementary demands, the CM said that aggregate of the demands for the grant includes ₹11,707.68 crore under state schemes and ₹1,433.39 crore under the centrally sponsored schemes.
Major expenditure proposed under the state schemes is ₹551.48 crore for power subsidy, ₹444.03 crore for construction of hospitals, purchase of medical equipment and HIMCARE scheme, and ₹435.08 crore for construction of senior secondary school and college buildings besides payment of salary.
A total of ₹289.38 crore has been proposed for grant-in-aid and investment to the Himachal Road Transport Corporation (HRTC); ₹284.79 crore for Mukhya Mantri Sukh Aashray Kosh, construction of Sukh Aashray Bhawan and social security pension; ₹279.06 crore for water supply and sanitation; ₹226.51 crore for relief on account of natural calamity; and ₹209.33 crore for Mukhya Mantri Swavlamban Yojana, Pradhan Mantri Gatishakti Yojana, optical cable fibre network and digital expansion or government departments under state schemes.
Also, ₹208.42 crore has been proposed for crop insurance, diversification project, pending liabilities and horticulture development project and ₹156.91 crore for grants to rural local bodies, salary of staff or zila parishad and grants under the 15th Finance Commission.
An amount of ₹154.71 crore has been proposed for roads and bridges; ₹128.71 crore for rail projects; ₹108.70 crore for skill development projects; and ₹106.08 crore for construction and maintenance of government buildings, rest houses, circuit houses and hostels.
Under the centrally sponsored schemes, supplementary demand is proposed for funding ongoing and new projects for which money has been received from the Centre. Major among these are ₹ 400 crore for disaster management received under the NDRF; ₹221.96 crore for Mahatma Gandhi National Rural Employment Guarantee Scheme (MGNREGS) and ₹141.78 crore for the smart city mission.
Provision of ₹140.91 crore has been made for Covid emergency response and health system preparedness package and ₹95.60 crore for the central road fund.
Meanwhile, House paid rich tributes to former minister Mansa Ram, who died on January 14 at the age of 82.