Himachal budget: Dhumal announces apple …
Shimla: Against the estimated national Gross Domestic Product (GDP) growth rate of 7.2 percent this year, the state’s GDP growth rate is projected at 7.5 percent.
“Our fiscal deficit for the year ending 2009-2010 is likely to be around 5.42 percent of our Gross State Domestic Product (GSDP). Against the national GDP growth estimates of 7.2 percent, our GSDP growth rate is estimated to grow by 7.5 percent in 2009-2010,” CM Prem Kumar Dhumal said while presenting the state budget. To provide relief to the common man, Dhumal announced to continue with the subsidy scheme for three ‘dals’, two edible oils and salt distributed through the public distribution system.
Since apple is the main horticulture crop in the state, the budget has proposed an Rs 85-crore “apple rejuvenation project”. Under the project, old and low yielding variety of trees would be replaced with productive varieties of apple rootstocks in 12,500 acres in the next five years. To tap additional sources of hydropower, the budget has proposed to harness more than 600 MW in the coming fiscal. “The state has a power potential of about 23,000 MW. About 6,480 MW has been harnessed till now. In the coming fiscal, we expect to add more than 600 MW with the commissioning of Allain Duhangan, Malana II, Budhil, Chamera III and some other small projects. These projects will add more than 2,700 million units per year,” Dumal said.
To harness clean energy, the government has decided to develop Shimla and Hamirpur as solar cities, the chief minister said. In the tourism sector, the government would make efforts to encourage the setting up of hotels by leading hotel chains.
“We are exploring the possibility of establishing an airport of international standards. The private sector will also be encouraged to build airports,” Dhumal told the House.