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No fresh tax in HP Budget for 2002-03

The Himachal Pradesh Chief Minister Prem Kumar Dhumal presenting the Budget for 2002-03 on Thursday did not propose any fresh taxes and announced several concesssions and new schemes for the state.

Presenting the fifth consecutive Budget in the Vidhan Sabha, the last before assembly polls, Dhumal who also holds the portfolio of finance announced the launching of Sarva Shiksha Abhiyan, Mukhyamantri Gramin Path Yojana and Parivahan Swarozgar Yojana besides setting up of Upper Sutlej Valley Power Corporation in the joint sector.

The highlights of the 'please all' Budget include enhancement of daily wages from Rs 55 to Rs 60 and this will benefit 40,000 daily wagers.

The Budget also includes regularisation of all daily wagers who had completed eight years of service, the release of two per cent additional DA to employees from July 1, 2001, enhancement of social security pension for old aged, widow and physically handicapped from Rs 150 to Rs 200 per month - this is likely to benefit 171,000 persons.

The Budget proposes an increase in allowance of homeguards from Rs 70 to Rs 75 per day and reservation of 15 per cent posts in police, forest guards and jail wardens and ration allowance of Rs 100 per month to police personnel upto the rank of Deputy Superintendent of Police.

He announced 25 per cent of basic pay as non-practising allowance for ayurvedic doctors on par with alopathatic ones and exemption from 3.5 per cent stamp duty to employees for obtaining housing loans from banks against mortgage.

In a major relaxation to non-agriculture bonafide Himachalis, Dhumal announced that they would be given permission to purchase upto 500 sq mts of land for construction of a house.

The chief minister announced abolition of 4 per cent sales tax on chemical fertilisers and 10 per cent annual increase on lump sum tax on maxicabs and taxis, and reduction in tax rates for mini commercial passenger transport vehicles.

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