Council (NDC) held in Vigyan Bhawan, New Delhi today. In his address, Chief Minister, Shri Virbhadra Singh revealed that the 12th five year plan allocation was 65% higher in comparison to 11th five year plan which was highest in the country.
Chief Minister said that State Government had targeted an annual growth rate of 9% per annum in comparison to National average growth rate of 8.2% per annum. He said that higher growth rate of 4.5% was targeted in agriculture and allied sectors as compared to 4.2% growth rate at present, by increasing the farm productivity. He said that Government was spending more then nine percent of its plan allocation on agriculture and allied sector and requested the Union Government to offer incentives to the State Government by providing at least 50 percent of state outlay under Rashtriya Krishi Vikas Yojna (RKVY) during the 12th plan period. He said that Government would ensure efficient management of pre-harvesting and post harvesting operations and encourage cultivation of off-seasonal vegetables, organic farming, setting up poly houses, drip and micro irrigation facilities to raise the farm income during plan period.
He said that State Government would bring additional 27000 hectare of land under irrigation during plan period by executing different irrigations schemes. He said that target had been fixed to provide 70 litres drinking water per person per day in the State in comparison to National average of 55 litres per person per day. He said that all the left-out 10,725 habitations out of total 53,201 habitations would be provided safe drinking water during the plan. He requested the Union Government to increase the cost norms under Accelerated Irrigation Benefit Project (AIBP) programme keeping in view of the tough geographical, topographical conditions and limited working season in the hill state. He requested for increase of per hectare cost norm from present Rs. 1.5 lakh to four lakh and increase the completion period from present two years to three years.
Chief Minister, Shri Virbhadra Singh urged Government of India (GoI) to assist the State Government for setting up food processing industries in the state and to increase the import duty three times on imported apples in order to safe guard the interest of fruit growers of the State besides to restore the air traffic to the state to promote tourism and also provide subsidy on heli-taxi service on the pattern of north eastern states. He requested GoI for liberal financial assistance for expansion and up-gradation of existing civil aviation infrastructure in the state and pleaded for extension of Shimla airport runway through extensions. He urged to declare Baddi- Kalka and Bilaspur- Leh via Manali railway lines as project of National importance and early completion of ongoing Nangal-Talwara and Bhanupalli-Bilaspur-Beri railway line by allocating adequate budget provision. He said that State Government would construct about 7500 Kms of new road network to connect all the villages with population of more than 100 persons during the plan and added that 2000 Kms of National Highways and proper maintenance of already existing road network would be undertaken.
Chief Minister Shri Virbhadra Singh said that additional 4630 MW Hydropower would be generated in the state during the plan period and added that the state had so far harnessed 8368 MW hydro-electric potential out of total potential of 23000 MW. He requested the central Government to delegate the power of environmental clearance to State Government to expedite the power generation process in the state.
He insisted to continue the subsidy on LPG cylinders due to higher fuel requirements in the in high altitude areas and said that in absence of LPG subsidy, the demand of fuel wood would increase leading to extra pressure on forest wealth. He also requested to revive the industrial package of the Himachal Pradesh and suggested that hilly backward areas of the neighboring states could also be included in the new industrial package on the basis of tough geographical conditions similar to Himachal Pradesh.
He said that Himachal has been ranked as third on human development indicators by Union Government and added that the state had achieved 83.78% literacy rate. Besides, the State Government proposes to make right of secondary education during twelfth plan with an object to universalize the access to secondary educations.
Chief Minister Shri Virbhadra Singh told that infant mortality rate would be brought down to 22/1000 from existing level of 40/1000 and hundred percent institutional deliveries would be achieved in Government health institutions in the plan period. He said that so far 2.07 lakh persons had been benefited through 108 ambulance service introduced through NHRM in the state. He requested the Prime Minister to upgrade Tanda Medical College to the status of AIIMS, new Delhi and said that demand of specialists, physicians and other trained medical professionals would be met through three medical colleges of the state. He requested the Union Government to provide more fiscal autonomy to the states and provide flexibility while implementing centrally sponsored schemes and other flagship programmes keeping in mind the local conditions.
He suggested for incorporation of special chapter to elaborate strategy for development of northern hill states on the analogy of north eastern states and also requested for enhancement of Gross Budgetary support to all special category states alike and to provide uniform funding pattern in the ratio of 90:10 for all special category states. He urged the Union Government to compensate the Himalayan states for conserving ecology and said that the State would review the forest policy to ensure that natural resources were not over exploited and livelihood of those people who depend on forest resources are not adversely affected. He requested for raising the financial allocation of the state to meet its developmental needs.
Chief Minister Shri Virbhadra Singh welcomed the Union Government’s decision of direct cash subsidy and told that entire population of the state would be covered under the scheme in phased manner. He said that State Government would follow policy of zero- tolerance towards corruption and clean, transparent and accountable administration would be provided to the people. He said that e-governance would be utilised to ensure timely and effective redressal of public grievances.
Press note: Information & Public Relation, HP Govt.
HP Govt Employees to Get Higher Pay Scale on Completion of Two Years of Service: CM Jairam
Shimla-Himachal Pradesh Government employees working in different departments before January 3, 2022, would be given a higher scale at par with other employees on completion of two years tenure of regular service. A higher pay scale was also announced for the Junior Office Assistants (IT) on completion of two years of regular service.
Chief Minister Jairam Thakur made these announcements during the Karamchari Maha Sammelan of the Himachal Pradesh Non-Gazetted Employees Federation at the hotel Peterhof on Sunday.
He appreciated the role played by the employee especially frontline workers in the battle against the pandemic.
He said most of the government employees in the state have been given revised pay scales and on average, every employee has got the benefit of a 12 to 15 percent salary hike. There has also been an increase in the pension of about 1.50 lakh pensioners of the state. The financial benefits of Rs. 7801 crore have been given to state government employees and pensioners from the year 2018 to 2022. The pensioners who retired before 2016 are getting the benefit of a 15 to 20 percent increase in the pension while around 40 thousand pensioners who retired after 2016 would be benefitted soon, he said.
He said the daily wages were Rs. 210 in the year 2017 which has been increased by the present state government to Rs. 350. Similarly, 12 per cent interim relief annually has been provided to government employees and pensioners during the present government’s tenure. He said the Himachal government has provided Dearness Allowance to its employees and pensioners on the lines of Punjab and Central governments from the due date. The Punjab government has given only 5 percent interim relief to the employees while the Himachal government has provided 21 percent interim relief to its employees.
“Out of the total interim relief amount given to the employees and pensioners amounting to about Rs. 6500 crore, Rs. 3500 crore has been paid during the tenure of our government” added the Chief Minister.
He said that the state government has increased the government contribution for NPS employees from 10 percent to 14 percent benefitting more than one lakh employees. The NPS employees are being given the benefits of retirement and death gratuity at par with employees falling under the old pension scheme. The government has also increased the upper limit of death gratuity from Rs. 10 lakh to Rs. 20 lakh.
The Chief Minister said the state government has also increased the honorarium of para-workers working in various departments. The salary of outsource workers has been hiked by Rs 1,500 per month.
Non-Gazetted Employees Federation President Ashwani Thakur thanked the Chief Minister for providing various financial and other benefits to different categories of government employees.
Most Covid Restrictions to be Lifted From March 31, Mask and Hand Hygiene to Continue
New Delhi-The Centre has issued a notification to the States informing that the provisions of the Disaster Management (DM) Act, 2005 will not be invoked in the country after March 31. The Union Health Ministry said that the use of face masks and following hand hygiene will continue.
It implies that most of the Covid-related rules and restrictions would end.
Union Home Secretary Ajay Bhalla issued the notification which said that the decision was taken following the overall improvement in the situation and the preparedness of the government in dealing with the COVID-19 pandemic.
However, local authorities and State police can still invoke fines and criminal cases against persons violating COVID-19 norms under the Indian Penal Code (IPC), a senior government official said.
The DM Act was invoked on March 24, 2020, due to the pandemic
“Over the last seven weeks or so there has been a steep decline in the number of cases. The total caseload in the country stands at 23,913 only and the daily positivity rate has declined to 0.28%. It is also worth mentioning that with the combined efforts, a total of 181.56 Cr vaccine doses have been administered,” the notification said.
“I would like to mention that in view of the nature of the disease, we still need to remain watchful of the situation. Wherever any surge in the number of cases is observed, the States/UTs may consider taking prompt and proactive action at a local level, as advised by MoHFW (Health Ministry) from time to time,” the notification said.
The Indian government had issued various guidelines and measures for the first time on March 24, 2020, under the Disaster Management Act to curb the COVID-19 situation in the country, which have been modified several times thereafter.
India currently has 23,087 active COVID-19 cases and recorded 1,778 new cases and 62 deaths in the last 24 hours. The daily positivity rate has also declined to 0.28%.
HP Cabinet Decisions: Country Liquor Made Cheaper in New Excise Policy, Read All Decisions
Shimla-A meeting of the Himachal Pradesh Cabinet was held on March 20, 2022, under the chairmanship of Chief Minister Jai Ram Thakur.
The excise policy for the financial year 2022-23 was approved. Approval was also given for the renewal of retail excise vends in the state for the financial year 2022-23 at the renewal fees of 4% of the value of unit/vend.
The State Government said that wants to enhance the government revenue and curb the smuggling of country liquor from the neighbouring states by a reduction in its price.
The brands of Country Liquor will be cheaper as license fees have been reduced. This will help in providing good quality liquor at a cheaper rate to the consumers.
In the new excise policy, the 15% fixed quota of country liquor for manufacturers and bottlers to be supplied to the retail licensees has been abolished. According to the government, this step will give the retail licensees to lift their quota from the suppliers of their choice and further assure the supply of good quality country liquor at competitive prices. The MRP of country liquor will be cheaper by 16% of the existing price.
In this year’s policy, the Gaudhan Vikas Nidhi Fund has been enhanced by Re.1/- from the existing Rs.1.50 to Rs.2.50.
The fixed annual license fee of Bars has been rationalized by abolishing the area-specific slabs of license fee. Now throughout the State, there will be uniform license slabs based upon the room capacity in hotels.
Rates of the annual fixed license fee of Bars in the tribal areas has been reduced considerably.
Further, all the above stakeholders will have to install CCTV cameras at their establishments as it was made mandatory for them.
Wholesale vends and retail vends, the penalty provisions under the H.P. Excise Act, 2011 have been made more stringent.
An end to end online Excise Administration System would be established in Himachal Pradesh, the government said.
HP Government estimates a collection of Rs 2131 crore revenue during the year, which will be Rs. 264 crores higher than the financial year 2021-22 – growth of 14% in state excise revenues.
The Cabinet also gave its nod to amend Himachal Pradesh Disaster Relief Manual-2012 to include deaths due to biting of honey bees, hornet and wasps, accidental drowning and deaths due to accidents of vehicles (including land, water and air) under this Manual.
The Cabinet gave its approval for filling up 11 posts of ‘A’ Class Tehsildar in Revenue Department through direct recruitment on regular basis through Himachal Pradesh Public Service Commission.
HP State Toll Policy 2022-23
The HP Cabinet also gave its nod to HP State Toll Policy for the year 2022-23 which envisages auction cum tender for all the toll barriers in the State. During the year 2021-22, toll revenue has registered a growth of 20 percent of the previous year’s revenue.