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Himachal Politics: Despite taking decisive steps on new leadership in Himachal Pradesh, the work is not over for the Congress party in the state as it faces the twin challenge of keeping factionalism at bay and fulfilling ambitious poll promises.
The path of Chief Minister Sukhwinder Singh Sukhu and Deputy Chief Minister is still difficult, in which the first obstacle will be the formation of the cabinet. In the matter of cabinet formation, he will have to deal with pressure from rival groups in the party.
First difficulty: division of departmentsThe first difficulty for the party will be allocation of portfolios as supporters of late chief minister Virbhadra Singh are already feeling sidelined after his alleged rival Sukhu was elevated to the top post. Pratibha Singh, wife of former Chief Minister Virbhadra Singh, may have raised the right voice in the beginning, but it remains to be seen what she bargains for to satisfy her camp.
It is discussed that he has sought an important portfolio for his son Vikramaditya Singh. Vikramaditya Singh has won from Shimla Rural. Party sources said that the top leadership has agreed to make Vikramaditya Singh a senior minister in the state cabinet. Apart from the challenge of organizational unity, the Congress government in the state will need to work on the ground and deliver on the promises made in the manifesto.
Second difficulty: raising funds for the stateAnother difficult task will be to raise funds for the state government to fulfill the poll promises. To fulfill these promises, about ten thousand crore rupees will be spent annually by the state government.
the state is in debtGiven Himachal’s debt burden of about Rs 65,000 crore as on March 31, 2002, how Sukhu and his team manage to achieve this will be closely watched. The financial condition of the state is already in trouble. The Comptroller and Auditor General of India (CAG) says that the state government has used 74.11 percent of the borrowed funds for repayment of previous loans (principal) and 25.89 percent for capital expenditure.
According to the latest CAG report for 2020-21 tabled in the state assembly, about 39 per cent of the loan (around Rs 25,000 crore) is due in the next two to five years. It is going to be a challenging task to implement the poll promises made by the Congress, which include providing one lakh jobs in the first year and a total of five lakh jobs over a period of five years.
Third difficulty: filling vacant posts in the stateThe immediate task would be to fill the state’s 62,000 vacancies in various government departments, which would also increase the staff cost. The promise of giving Rs 1500 to every adult woman in the state will cost Rs 5,000 crore annually. Along with this, the promise of providing free electricity up to 300 units to every household will cost another Rs 2,500 crore annually, sources said.
As per the Budget Estimates for the year 2022-23, the total receipts and cash expenditure are estimated at Rs 50,300.41 crore and Rs 51,364.76 crore respectively. The revenue deficit for Himachal in 2022-23 is likely to be Rs 3,903.49 crore and the fiscal deficit Rs 9,602.36 crore. The restoration of the old pension scheme, the biggest promise that helped bring the party to power in the state, is also a daunting task.
However, Prime Minister Narendra Modi has assured that there will be no hindrance in the development of Himachal Pradesh, even after the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) has lost power in the state.
How ready is the CM to change the system?Sukhu had said on Saturday that all stakeholders would be taken along while taking important decisions. He had said, “We want to change the system. Give me some time We need to work hard to bring a new system and new thinking.
The Congress had made many ambitious promises, from free pilgrimage once in four years for all elders to a dedicated budget for promoting religious tourism in every assembly constituency. Dev Bhoomi Vikas Nidhi, a fund comprising a dedicated budget for each assembly constituency, has also been promised to promote religious tourism.
How many promises did the Congress make in the state?The Congress had made ten promises to the people of Himachal Pradesh, including the restoration of the old pension scheme in the first meeting of the state cabinet, besides promising to give Rs 1,500 to all adult women in the state. The party also tried to woo the poor by promising 300 units of free electricity to all households and five lakh jobs to the youth. The party has also promised to create a startup fund of Rs 680 crore.
The party also promised to give special budget to legislators to promote religious tourism in Himachal, Himachaliyat and Hum, one job per family to those affected by power projects and employment under urban MNREGA to the unemployed in the 52-page manifesto. Has gone.
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