DEHRADUN: After going through a rough phase for nearly two years that saw Covid-19 snatching jobs of over 2.5 lakh people, the economy of Uttarakhand is bouncing back.
As per government data, the state economy has recovered by more than 10 per cent in the financial year (FY) 2021-22 compared to the previous year.
As the Pushkar Singh Dhami government prepares to present its Rs 63000 crore budget next week, it hopes subsiding cases of Covid-19 will further ease pressure on the economy and help the crucial tourism industry to return to the pre-pandemic levels.
“The Covid-19 pandemic had an adverse effect on the economy of Uttarakhand. The state government spent almost 40% of the budget to generate employment, development works which helped to the road to recovery,” said Dr Manoj Kumar Pant, additional director of statistics and finance department, told The New Indian.
In the last two years hit by Covid waves and lockdowns, at least Rs 8000 crore was lost by the state economy and over 2.5 lakh people lost their jobs in the tourism industry which happens to be the backbone of the economy of the hill state.
“With Covid 19 subsiding and things returning to almost normalcy, the economy has bounced back”, officials said.
Weeks after its sister state Uttar Pradesh presented its largest-ever budget of Rs 6.15 lakh crore, Uttarakhand’s budget session will commence in the state legislative assembly in Dehradun on June 14.
The budget session was earlier scheduled from June 7 in Gairsain, Chamoli which happens to be the home of Badrinath shrine. The session was shifted to Dehradun due to ongoing Char Dham Yatra as the route is used by pilgrims, said government officials.
Estimated growth projection for FY 2021-22 is 6.13 per cent in comparison of minus 4.42 per cent the previous fiscal. In FY 2019-20, the growth rate stood 4.43 per cent.
In financial year 2020-21, the size of the state economy shrunk to Rs 234660 crore, which rose to Rs 253832 crore in FY 2021-22.
Per capita income also registered growth in FY 2021-22, reaching Rs 1.96 lakh which had shrunk to Rs 1.82 lakh in FY 2020-21 in comparison to Rs 1.88 lakh in FY 2019-20.
Chief minister Dhami and state finance minister Premchand Agarwal have appealed to the people of the state to submit suggestions so that an ‘inclusive’ budget can be formulated.
“People can submit their suggestions online as well as in offline mode,” said Agarwal.
For the first time since the formation of Uttarakhand, the state government under ‘Pre-Budget Stakeholders Consultation’ started conducting dialogue programs with representative groups of Garhwal and Kumaun divisions such as business community, women, common people, and government employees for preparation of the budget.
Meanwhile, government data revealed that Uttarakhand has failed to utilize allocated budget for the development. In FY 2021-22, only 62.19 per cent has been utilized till date. Interestingly, this is the lowest utilization of the allocated budget in last three years.
In FY 2020-21, utilization of the total allocated budget stood 64.52 per cent while it was pegged at 64.49 per cent in financial year 2019-20.
In 2021-22, total Rs 64485.18 crore was allocated to various departments of the state, out of which only Rs 40105.88 crore have been utilized for development projects, expenses and other means.
In FY 2020-21, total budget allocation was Rs 57590.76 crore of which only Rs 37163.01 crore was utilized. In the previous financial year, Rs 32984.15 crore of the total allocation of Rs 51145.29 was utilized.
In March this year, Haryana government presented the budget of Rs 1.77 lakh crore with an aim of 15 per cent increase in revenue earnings and achieving the revenue deficit of 0.98 per cent of the gross state domestic product (GDSP) in comparison to present 1.40 per cent.
The Punjab government will table its budget on June 27.