The Himachal assembly after a nine day recess reassembles on Monday to discuss the budget demands of various departments.
Former chief minister Virbhadra Singh absence from the session that began on 4th March has been conspicuous. Singh who is back is likely to attend the session on Monday and charge up the opposition, which has been mostly at the receiving end. The budget is to be passed on 27th March.
Chief minister Prem Kumar Dhumal, who also holds the finance portfolio, presented a tax free budget on 7th March which estimated the 2008-09 expenditure at Rs 12,542.15 crore and proposed to meet out Rs 2814.08 crore through external borrowings and an additional Rs 300 crore by incurring public debt.
The budget announced a 5 percent interim relief for employees that would cost the state exchequer Rs 300 crore. The chief minister announced plans for filling up of 26,000 functional posts which included 18,000 teachers, 3000 policemen, 250 doctors, 85 Ayurvedic doctors, 1000 nurses and creating an ecology and disaster management battalion of 1000 personnel. To make the dairy farming remunerative, the government also announced intentions increasing of procurement rate of milk by Rs 2 per liter.