Himachal Pradesh is expected to grow at a pace of 5.6 per cent in 2019-20, a sharp fall of 1.5 per cent as compared to 7.1 per cent in the previous fiscal, according to the Economic Survey presented in the Vidhan Sabha on Thursday.
The per capita income of the state, however, registered an increase of 6.6 per cent (or Rs 12,147) and is pegged at Rs 1,95,255 in the ongoing fiscal compared to Rs 1,83,108 in the previous fiscal, as per the report tabled by Chief Minister Jai Ram Thakur, a day before the Budget for 2020-21 is to be presented.
The growth rate of 5.6 per cent is the lowest since 2002-03, when it was 5.1 per cent. The growth rate for 2018-19 was 7.1 per cent, for 2017-18 was 6.8 per cent and for 2016-17 was 7 per cent.
The gross state domestic product (GSDP) at constant prices in 2019-20 is projected at Rs 1,24,450 crore. The GSDP in 2018-19 was Rs 1,17,851 crore. Earlier, the GSDP at constant prices in 2017-18 increased to Rs 1,10,034 crore from Rs 1,03,055 crore in 2016-17.
Total revenue receipts are estimated at Rs 33,747 crore in 2019-20 compared to Rs 31,189 crore in 2018-19, showing an increase of 8.20 per cent, it added. The state’s own taxes rose to 15.69 per cent in 2019-20 which is estimated at Rs 7,921 crore compared to Rs 6,847 crore in 2019-19 and Rs 7,108 crore in 2017-18.
Upto November 2019, the total tax collected this financial year is Rs 4,448 crore, including a GST of Rs 2,367 crore. As a share of the GSDP, the tax revenue is estimated to be 9.26 percent this year, up from 7.98 percent in 2018-19.
For 2019-20, the total expenditure of the state government is estimated at Rs 44,388 crore, out of which Rs 4,580 is earmarked for capital expenditure and Rs 3,718 has been earmarked for the debt account.
The inflation fell from 4.7 per cent in 2018-19 to 1.5 per cent during 2019-20, it added.
Apple production sees sharp increase
After witnessing a decline for three consecutive years, the annual production of apples in Himachal, has increased by a sharp 80 per cent till December this fiscal as compared to the whole of last financial year.
Apple, the mainstay of the state’s horticultural economy, accounts for around 74 per cent of the total fruit production. Its production witnessed sharp fluctuations this decade, decreasing from 8.92 lakh metric tonnes in 2010-11 to a mere 2.75 lakh MT the next year. The production then gradually rose to 7.77 lakh MT in 2015-16 before coming down to 3.68 lakh MT last year. This financial year, the production has reached 6.64 lakh MT till December, while the overall fruit production in the state has also increased from 4.95 lakh MT last year to 7.07 lakh MT till December this year.
In 2019-20, more than 2,100 hectares have been brought under cultivation while 5.28 lakh fruit plants were distributed among farmers, the survey said. The state government also runs a market intervention scheme under which it procured apples at Rs 8 per kilogram this year. However, a payment of Rs 24.5 crore is still pending towards the farmers under this scheme, according to a reply tabled in the House earlier this week.
The 2018-19 remained an average year as food grain production was 16.92 lakh tonnes as compared to 15.81 lakh tonnes in the previous fiscal, the survey stated. The production of potato was 1.87 lakh tonnes in 2018-19 as against 1.99 lakh tonnes in 2017-18. The production of vegetables was 17.22 lakh tonnes as compared to 16.92 lakh tonnes in the previous fiscal, it added.
Meanwhile, livestock products such as milk, eggs and wool are projected to witness a slight increase even as the total number of livestock has decreased from 5,216 in 2007 to 4,458 in 2017.
Agriculture is the main occupation of the people and has an important place in the economy of Himachal, which is the only state in the country whose 89.96 per cent population, as per Census 2011, lives in rural areas. Agriculture and horticulture provide direct employment to about 69 per cent of total workers of the state.
The share of agriculture and allied sectors in the state’s gross value added (GVA) at current prices has increased from 12.11 percent last year to 12.73 percent this year, attributed to a relatively lower growth performance of non-agricultural sectors.
Around 1.72 crore tourists visited the state in 2019, up from 1.64 crore in 2018. The highest inflow of tourists was recorded in 2017, when 1.96 crore visitors arrived here.
According to the survey, around 3,700 hotels having a bed capacity of more than one lakh are registered with the government. In addition, there are around 2,200 homestays. The Asian Development Bank has approved a loan assistance of US $ 95.16 million to the state for the development of tourist infrastructure. Under the community-based tourism project, more than 3,500 people in 14 panchayats across six districts have been imparted training in various tourism-related skills, the survey said.
Leading companies which signed MoUs with the government during the investors’ summit last year and whose projects were grounded include Bharti Airtel, SJVNL, Reliance Jio and BSNL. The proposed investment of SJVNL and Airtel is Rs 2,300 crore and Rs 1,000 crore respectively. The government came out with a new MSME Act and HP Industrial Investment Policy in 2018 to attract investment, besides implementing NOC reforms and holding the Global Investors’ Meet in Dharamshala, the survey said.
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