Himachal seeks special grant of Rs.12,466 crore

Shimla, Aug 13 (IANS) Himachal Pradesh Chief Minister Virbhadra Singh Tuesday urged the 14th Finance Commission to provide a special grant of Rs.12,466 crore to the state to enable it meet its financial liabilities.

Interacting with commission's members here, the chief minister sought permission to levy generation tax on hydropower produced in the state.

Singh said a bill for taxation on generation of power has been passed by the state legislative assembly and is waiting presidential assent.

The chief minister said the state's debt liabilities were 39.18 percent of GSDP, almost double of all state's average of 20.55 percent.

He requested the commission to consider the state's debt stress and bail the state out of its financial situation through an appropriate intervention.

The chief minister cited the "unfavourable" award of 13th Finance Commission, which underestimated committed liabilities on account of salary, interest and pension payments.

"The 13th Finance Commission had only assumed six percent annual growth in dearness allowance (DA), whereas the average DA hike in the past three years has been over 15 percent per annum," he said.

Chairman of the Finance Commission Y. Venugopal Reddy, while appreciating the developmental needs of the state, assured all possible help to tide over the financial liabilities.