Himachal’s economy suffered Rs 30,000-crore hit due to Covid-19 pandemic: CM
Chief minister Jai Ram Thakur says revenue loss of Rs 1,300 crore in first quarter of 2020-21 fiscal
Dharamshala: The overall economy of Himachal Pradesh suffered a hit of Rs 30,000 crore due to the Covid-19 pandemic and subsequent lockdown, while the hill state registered a revenue loss of Rs 1,300 crore in the first quarter of this financial year.
Stating this at a press conference in Dharamshala on Saturday, chief minister Jai Ram Thakur said, “During this pandemic, the entire world is facing an economic crisis. Himachal Pradesh too suffered an economic loss of around Rs 1,300 crore in the first quarter. Our financial liabilities have increased by Rs 737 crore due to budget announcements.”
Thakur said that the private sector, including tourism, transport, horticulture, and other businesses, had faced its worst crisis and the revenue loss is estimated to be around Rs 30,000 crore but there are green shoots with these sectors slowly coming back on track.
He said that salaries, wages and pensions of government employees have been disbursed on time thanks to the central government that has not reduced the state’s financial dues.
“The Rs 950-crore revenue deficit grant released by the Union government has kept the state’s economy afloat. The state is also getting its central tax share and Rs 300 crore has been received till date,” he said.
Accusing the opposition Congress of playing politics during the pandemic, he said, “We are going through a crisis no government has ever faced but Himachal is in a much better position compared to other states.”
RISE IN CASES AFTER RETURN OF NATIVES
The chief minister said that the spurt in Covid cases after Unlock 1 was due to the return of Himachalis stranded in other states. “However, it was our responsibility to bring back stranded residents and the government facilitated the return of 2.5 lakh people,” he said.
In Unlock 2, Thakur said as the Centre eased restriction on inter-state travel, the Covid-19 spike was seen among migrant labourers. “Most of the infected people were in quarantine,” he said.
In Unlock 3, though unconditional inter-state travel was allowed, the state government kept monitoring the movement of people coming to the state.
OPENING TOURISM SECTOR TO REVIVE ECONOMY
Taking on the Opposition for criticising the government for opening the tourism sector, he said, “It is important that we revive the economy or more people may suffer due to the financial crisis than the virus.”
He said the government has allowed conditional entry, making the Covid-19 negative report mandatory for visitors.
On reopening temples, Thakur said that the government will review the situation after August 15 and if the number of cases increases, temples may remain closed.