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Budget for the year 2013-14 presented by Virbhadra Singh main highlights

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himachal-budget-2013-14

Every department in State Government will scrutinize it¡¦s Acts, Rules and Guidelines and suggest amendments to simplify the procedures and to make them citizen centric.

A State Commissioner (Public Grievances) to be appointed to monitor timely disposal of public grievances.

An Administrative Boundaries Re-organization Commission¡¨ will be set up for re-organization of boundaries of administrative units of various departments.

A State Innovation Fund to be set up with an initial outlay of Rs. 5 crore to encourage departments to try new initiatives.

Direct Benefit Transfer under all state scholarship and welfare schemes.

An outlay of Rs. 175 crore proposed for the state food subsidy scheme.

Annual plan outlay of Rs. 4100 crore proposed for 2013-14.

Each MLA to be given a budget of Rs. 2 lakh as discretionary grant fund.

Integrated Crop Diversification Programme¡¨ to be started to bring additional 3000 hectare area under vegetable cultivation.

Mukhyamantri Adarsh Krishi Gaon Yojna¡ under which 68 selected panchayats will be given a grant of Rs. 10 lakh each for agricultural infrastructure.

Production of mushroom will be treated as an agriculture activity.

Organic Certification Agency to be established to provide the facility of organic certification to the farmers in the state.

Seeds of high yielding variety of maize, paddy and fodder to be provided at 50% subsidy to the farmers for the coming kharif season.

Token tax exempted for tractors for agriculture purpose.

One Panchayat in each district which is completely free of stray animals to be given an award of Rs. 5 lakh.

Financial assistance to the NGOs/Trusts for setting up and running of Gaushalas for provision of cowsheds, fodder etc.

Procurement price of apple, mango, kinnow, malta and galgal to be increased by 50 paisa per KG.

Anti hail nets to horticulturists on 80% subsidy.

Procurement price of milk increased from the existing Rs. 17.80 to Rs. 18.80 per litre w.e.f. 1st April, 2013.

Rs. 1 crore 90 lakh to be provided for renovation of inland fish landing centres near reservoirs.

Six new monkey sterilization centres to be started.

New ICDP project for Shimla, Kangra and Kullu districts.

Housing Grant under Rajiv Awas Yojna and state housing schemes to be increased from Rs. 48500 to Rs. 75000.

Bi-monthly reimbursement of Rs.350 to be given to BDOs, Tehsildars, Naib Tehsildars and officers in charge of police stations, chowkis and fire stations for use of mobile phone.

Water supply at 70 LPCD to additional 2500 habitations, 2000 hand pumps to be installed during the next financial year.

High Powered Committee for speedy clearances of Hydro projects.

Rs. 270 crore to subsidise domestic consumers of electricity.

Rs. 75 crore equity contribution to HPSEBL.

Provision of Rs. 230 crore for payment of energy charges for lift irrigation and lift water supply schemes.

Three new state of the art industrial areas to be developed in district Una, Solan and Kangra.

Clearances for industrial projects to be made time bound and brought under Public Services Guarantee Act.

Concessional CST of 1.5% on the existing industrial units and 1% on new industrial units.

Rs. 10 crore to be provided for construction and upgradation of the Bus Stands at sub-divisions and blocks.

Grant and equity of Rs.160 crore to HRTC in 2013-14.

Facility of filing e-returns, e-declaration, e-tax payment and issue of C&F forms to be extended to registered dealers having annual turnover of Rs. 40 lakh and above.

Registration fee under the H.P. VAT Act, Central Sales Tax Act, Passenger & Good Tax Act and Luxury Tax Act to be abolished for the new dealers.

HP Traders Welfare Board to be revived.

9% VAT on all types of footwear.

VAT on aviation turbine fuel to be reduced from 5% to 1%.

New hotels in the backward panchayats to be exempted from payment of luxury tax for a period of 10 years.

Free travel facility to government school students for going to and coming from schools in HRTC buses w.e.f. 1st April, 2013.

Patients suffering from cancer and spinal injuries and those on dialysis to be provided free travel facility in HRTC buses along with one attendant.

Re-opening of schools denotified and closed by the previous government.

PTA grants to Lecturer School Cadre to be increased from Rs. 7250 to Rs. 10875, for the TGT from Rs. 6950 to Rs. 10425, and for C&V teachers from Rs. 6750 to Rs. 10125.

Smart classrooms to be started in 618 Government Senior Secondary Schools and 837 Govt. High Schools.

Vocational education in 100 new senior secondary schools.

5 thousand meritorious students of 10th and 12th class to be provided Net books/tablets under Rajiv Gandhi Digital Student Yojna.

Student of Himachal Pradesh who gets admission in IITs, IIMs or AIIMS to be given a cash incentive of Rs.75 thousand.

New ITIs will be opened in all the Vidhan Sabha constituencies without a government ITI.

New engineering college under RUSA in District Kangra.

Cash prize given to the outstanding players of the state to be doubled. Award money of Parshuram awardees to be enhanced from existing Rs. 50000 to Rs. 1 lakh.

Monthly incentive to be increased from Rs. 15000 to Rs. 25000 and from Rs. 25000 to Rs. 40000 to encourage PG doctors to opt for interior locations.

Higher Education Allowance for doctors acquiring PG Degree to be raised from Rs. 5000 to Rs.7000 PM and for those acquiring PG diploma from Rs. 2000 to Rs. 3500 PM.

VAT on cigarette, cigar etc. to be increased from 18% to 36% and on bidis from 11% to 22%.

At least 20% women to be recruited at constable and Sub Inspector level.

Assistance given for remarriage of widows and inter caste marriage to be enhanced from Rs. 25000 to Rs. 50,000.

Mahila Kalyan Board¡¦ will be set up in the state.

Allocation of Rs. 1014 crore under the Scheduled Caste Sub Plan and Rs. 369 crore under Tribal Sub-Plan.

Social Security pension to be increased from Rs. 450 to Rs. 500 pm. Pensioners above 80 years of age will be given pension @ Rs. 1000 PM. All pending applications to be cleared.

Assistance under ¡¥Mukhya Mantri Kanya Daan Yojna¡¦, to be raised from Rs. 21000 to Rs. 25000 w.e.f. 1st April, 2013.

Ex-servicemen pension to be raised to Rs.500 per month from 1st April, 2013.

Amount of War Jagir to be increased from Rs. 2000 to Rs. 3000.

Grant of uniform allowance to non-gazetted ranks of police to be doubled.

10 courts of Additional District and Session Judge and 2 courts of Civil Judge (Junior Division) will be set up in the State.

Skill Development Allowance¡¨ of Rs. 1000 per month to be given to 10+2 and above educated unemployed youth. This rate will be Rs. 1500 per month for persons with disabilities. Interest subvention of 4% to be given up to project cost of Rs.1.50 lakh.

State Skill Development Council¡¦ to be established.

2000 posts of teachers of different categories, 500 posts of data entry operators/computer operators, 500 posts of water guards, 500 posts of patwaris, 250 JEs/ surveyors, 200 forest guards, 200 posts of Panchayat sahayaks and 100 posts of nurses and all vacant posts of doctors to be filled up.

Winter allowance for employees in tribal and hard areas increased from Rs. 200 to Rs. 300 per month.

Fixed Medical allowance for employees and pensioners increased from Rs. 250 to Rs. 350 per month.

Contractual employees completing 6 years of service, Daily wage employees completing 7 years of service as on 31st March 2013 to be regularized as per norms.

Part timers including part time water carriers in the education department who complete 9 years of continuous service as on 31st March 2013 will be made daily wagers as per norms.

Financial assistance to the registered workers engaged in building and construction activities to be enhanced.

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CM Jairam Thakur Tests Positive for COVID-19, Quarantined

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HImachal Pradesh CM Tests Positive for COVID-19

Shimla-Chief Minister of Himachal Pradesh, Jairam Thakur, have tested positive for COVID-19 and has been quarantined at his official residence. The report was confirmed by the Chief Minister through a tweet in which he informed that he was under quarantine at his residence after coming into contact with a COVID-19 positive person. On the appearance of symptoms, he got himself tested and the report was found to be positive, he informed.

According to the initial report, the Chief Minister had come in contact with some COVID-19 positive persons in Manali. MLA of Banjar, Surinder Shourie, who was positive for COVID-19 had participated in the event organized on the occasion of the inauguration of Rohtang Tunnel, had also tested positive. Shourie had spent the entire day with the Chief Minister, reports said.

His private secretary had also tested positive, and there are chances that the Chief Minister might have contracted the infection from him. However, there is no certainty regarding the contact who infected the Chief Minister.

Other than Chief Minister, three Cabinet ministers – Urban Development Minister Suresh Bharadwaj, Power Minister Sukh Ram Chaudhary, Jalshakti Minister Mahender Singh- have tested positive so far.  Over ten MLAs have already tested positive and some of them have recovered too.

Meanwhile, despite community spread, the testing and tracing seem to have fallen and the fatality rate has witnessed a steep rise. Till 12 pm today, the COVID-19 death tally for the state was 245, and the total number of cases registered was 17414. But these are official statistics and these numbers are likely to be much higher. 

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Himachal: COVID-19 Kills 59 in 9 Days, Govt Still Clueless About Actual Number of Cases

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Himachal PRadesh Jairam Thakur

Shimla-COVID-19 continue to wreak havoc in Himachal Pradesh as the death tally spirals upward rapidly. Currently, 240 people have lost their lives due to COVID-19. Fifty nine of these deaths have been reported during the last nine days of October month, which is quite alarming. But contrary to that, the attitude of the state government, as well as, the public is becoming more casual. The SOPs issued by the government are hardly being followed anywhere. The fact that with the community spread, the cases of COVID-19 are falling in the official information released by the state Health Department.

On October 9, the Department traced only 199 cases but reported seven deaths. The total number of active cases was cited to be 2856. The deceased included three females and four males aged between 49 -75 years. View details of the deceased in the below-given table:

Shimla-covid-19 deaths in himachal pradesh

The total number of cases, as per the official statistics, had reached 16977 till yesterday evening (9 PM). But these are official statistics and the real number is likely to be much higher due to a community spread. Similarly, the actual number of COVID-19 deaths could be higher than the official statistics. Despite it, the state government is reluctant to release any projection regarding the real numbers. No statements have been issued regarding the current situation and strategy to combat the rising fatality rate. Rather, the state appears to be refraining from bringing up the matter.

The oppositions, HP Congress and CPI (M), are targeting the government over its failure to combat the spread of COVID-19. However, this opposition is quite feeble and hasn’t resulted in any reforms in the attitude of the government.

In a statement to media, Sanjay Chauhan, former Mayor of Shimla and a senior CPI (M) leader, said that the rise in fatalities is the result of the government’s lackadaisical attitude. The suicide committed by a positive patient at the DDU COVID-19 hospital is evidence of it, he said. He said this approach has endangered health lives of ministers, officials, and the staff at their offices. Further, he said, health staff, paramedical staff, and police staff are getting infected, and even losing lives due to the government’s unpreparedness.  The government had even compromised the safety of the Prime Minister and Education Minister by violating norms set regarding COVID-19, he said.

HP Congress chief, Kuldeep Rathor also expressed shock over the presence of COVID-19 positive MLA of Banjar, Surender Shourie, in the event organized for the PM. He alleged that by violating all norms, the MLA concealed information regarding his COVID-19 positive status and did not quarantine himself, which reflects the state government’s attitude toward management of the corona pandemic. He had demanded registration of an FIR against Shourie and action against erring officials.

Sanjay Chauhan, further said that the government did not prepare itself to combat the pandemic the way it was expected to. The people of the state had followed the lockdown and sacrificed their livelihood with a hope that the government would prepare itself during this period to combat the spread and to strengthen the health infrastructure and services. But instead, the government indulged itself in making people clap and beat ‘thalis’.  The Chief Minister adopted and preached unscientific practices like performing a ‘havan’.  Despite a steep rise in fatalities, the government is still not serious about the situation, he said. 

He said the CPI (M) demands that the government starts working on war footing to prepare a strategy by involving health experts, strengthening the health services by recruiting doctors, para-medical and other staff, and constitute a task force to deal with the situation. The government should work diligently on following the norms set for prevention from COVID-19, he added.  

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Shocker for Himachal as Ex-CBI Chief & Governor Ashwani Kumar Found Dead at His Shimla Residence

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Himachal IPS Officer Ashwani Kumar found deat in shimla

Shimla-Ashwani Kumar – 1973 IPS officer from Himachal Pradesh cadre who had served as the Director-General of HP Police (2006-2008) and CBI chief (August 2008 to November 2010), and was later appointed the Governor of Nagaland in 2013-was found dead at his residence in Shimla on Wednesday evening. The news came as a shocker as Kumar was considered as one of India’s finest and honest officers.

Superintendent of Police, Shimla, Mohit Chawala, in statement to news agencies, confirmed the report. According to the initial report, he reportedly hanged himself and ended his life. However, no formal statement was issued regarding the suicide. According to the police, a suicide note was also recovered from the spot. However, the note was yet to be verified.

Kumar was a well known name as he had dealt with famous cases including that of Arushi Talwar murder and fake encounter of Sohrabuddin Sheikh in which current Home Minister Amit Shah was arrested in 2010.

He was one of the first appointees made to resign from the post of Governor, Nagaland, as soon as the current ruling party came into power in 2014. He also remained Governor of Manipur for a short period of time. After his retirement, Kumar was serving as the Vice-Chancellor of a private university in Shimla.

The officials who have served under Aswani Kumar have expressed shock over his demise in such a manner. 

Director-General of Police, Sanjay Kundu, and a team of medical staff was rushed to the spot. More details are awaited as the district police have not issued any formal statement regarding the incident.

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