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Himachal Pradesh budget 2015-16: Highlights

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Today in the Himachal Pradesh Vidhan Sabha, Chief Minister Virbhadra Singh presented the state budget for the year 2015-16. In his address where he overlooked some of the important issues like Information Technology, he surely assured of providing good governance to the people of Himachal Pradesh.

Main highlights of the Budget

• Practice of obtaining Affidavits for various purposes replaced with Self-Declaration on Plain Paper.

• e-Procurement (e-Tendering) to be extended to more Departments for 100 per cent coverage and transparency in Government procurement process.

• Contract Management Information System to be rolled out in the Departments of IPH and Public Works for timely completion of Schemes and their proper monitoring.

• Amount of ‘Vidhayak Khshetriya Vikas Nidhi Yojana’ increased from Rs. 50 Lakh to Rs. 70 Lakh.

• A new Project on Management of Horticultural Crops in the State amounting to ` 1 Thousand Crore approved for funding by the World Bank.

• Budget outlay of Rs. 210 Crore proposed for continuing the Food Subsidy Scheme.

• Digital Ration Cards to be issued to All Eligible Residents.

• Additional Rs. 4 Crore proposed for Construction of Godowns/Warehouses for increasing storage capacity of Food Grains in the State.

• Rs. 154 Crore ‘Rajiv Gandhi Micro-Irrigation Scheme’ to be launched.

• 50 per cent subsidy proposed for Construction of Lift Irrigation Schemes and Installation of Bore-Wells by the individuals or group of farmers of the State.

• Zone-wise On-Line Soil Fertility Maps to be made available. 1 Lakh Farmers to be provided Soil Health Cards.

• An outlay of Rs. 60 Crore proposed for promoting Off Season Vegetables.

• New Scheme – ‘Establishment of Centres of Excellence for Vegetable Nursery Production’ to be launched.

• 20 Thousand Vermi-Compost Units to be set up with 50 per cent Financial Assistance.

• Rs. 10 Crore will be provided to the HP Marketing Board for Development of Market Yards.

• New Scheme – ‘Uttam Chara Utpadan Yojana’ to be launched for fodder development.

• Chaff-Cutter subsidy to be extended to BPL farmers also.

• New Scheme – ‘Mukhya Mantri Kisan Evam Khetihar Mazdoor Jeevan Surakhsha Yojana’ to provide Insurance cover to the Farmers/Agricultural Labourers.

• 2 Lakh Square Metre area to be covered under Protected Cultivation of High Value Fruits, Flowers and Vegetables.

• 1,000 Hectare additional area to be brought under Revamped Apple Rejuvenation Project.

• 30 per cent additional Subsidy to promote Pollinisation through Honey Bees proposed from the State Government.

• Weather Based Crop Insurance Scheme to be extended to all Blocks of the State.

• Rs. 5 Crore proposed for HPMC for converting three Cold Stores into CA Cold Stores.

• Veterinary Poly-Clinics to be established in Una and Bilaspur districts.

• ‘Gauvansh Samvardhan Board’ to be constituted.

• Milk Procurement Price to be enhanced by Rs. 1 per Litre. HP MILKFED to be provided a Grant-in-Aid of ` 15 Crore.

• New Scheme to set up Milk Processing & Chilling Units by the Dairy Co-operative Societies with 60 per cent subsidy.

• KfW Bank of Germany to fund Rs. 310 Crore for HP Forest Eco-Systems Climate Proofing Project.

• Rs. 20 Crore for additional material for converting Kacha Water Tanks into Poly-Lined/Pucca Water Tanks in convergence with MGNREGA.

• 40,000 Hectare area to be developed under Watershed Development Programme by spending about Rs. 50 Crore.

• 10 Thousand Houses to be constructed under different Housing Schemes, with a subsidy of ` 75,000 for each house.

• Government to release Rs. 109 Crore to Panchayats. Additional Rs.195 Crore also to be released to Panchayats, as per 14th Finance Commission recommendations.

• Farmers and Self-Help Groups to be exempted from payment of Stamp Duty on Mortgage Deeds up to the value of Rs. 10 Lakhs.

• Stamp Duty and Registration Charges for Mortgage to obtain Education Loan up to Rs. 7.50 Lakh to be exempted.

• Stipend to Patwari candidates for training to be enhanced from ` 1 Thousand to ` 3 Thousand.

• Budget provision of Rs. 236 Crore proposed for Disaster Relief.

• Water Treatment Plants/Filter Beds to be provided in all left out 512 Water Supply Schemes in next three years with allocation of Rs. 20 Crore for 2015-16.

• Rs. 45 Crore to be allocated to accelerate the Nadaun Medium Irrigation and Phina Singh Irrigation Project.

• An outlay of Rs. 154 Crore proposed for Minor Irrigation Schemes to cover 3,500 Hectares of cultivated land.

• An outlay of Rs. 50 Crore proposed for Command Area Development Works.

• Rs. 330 Crore will be provided to IPH Department to meet the Energy Charges of Water Supply & Irrigation Schemes.

• An outlay of Rs. 187 Crore proposed for Flood Protection Works.

• Capacity addition of 1,050 MW Hydro-Power to be done in 2015-16.

• Solar Projects to be treated as Industrial Projects. Tariff up to 5 MW capacity to be regulated/approved by the State Electricity Regulatory Commission and entire power to be purchased by HPSEBL.

• 3 LED Bulbs per Domestic Consumer to be provided below market price and the cost at Rs. 10 per LED Bulb to be recovered through electricity bills from consumers.

• VAT on LED Bulbs will be reduced from 13.75 per cent to 5 per cent.

• Energy Efficient Chullahs certified by TERI or approved by Ministry of New & Renewable Energy to be exempted from VAT.

• Rs. 380 Crore to be provided to HPSEBL for subsidising electricity to the Domestic Consumers.

• Rs. 40 Crore to be provided for developing industrial areas in the State and ` 20 Crore to be provided to Baddi – Barotiwala – Nalagarh Development Authority (BBNDA) for various developmental works.

• New industries will be charged Entry Tax @ 1 per cent on industrial inputs.

• Electricity Duty for Specified Extra High Tension (EHT) Category Consumers to be reduced from 15 per cent to 13 per cent, for Medium & Large Industries except EHT from 13 per cent to 11 percent, for Small Industries from 7 per cent to 5 per cent and for any new industry including the new EHT category industry employing more than 300 Himachalis only 1 per cent for five years.

• Two State of the Art Industrial Areas at Kandrouri in Kangra and Pandoga in Una District Rs. 107 Crore and Rs. 112 Crore respectively to be set up.

• MGNREGA Workers having worked for 50 days in the preceding 12 months to be registered as beneficiaries with the HP Building and Other Construction Workers Welfare Board.

• Employment & Career Guidance to be provided in all the District Employment Exchanges, Schools, Colleges, ITIs, Engineering Institutions.

• 800 New Buses for HRTC to be purchased under JNNURM.

• Tax on Transport Vehicles and Contract Carriages will be transferred to the Department of Transport for the benefit of vehicle owners.

• Rs. 10 Crore to be provided for construction of New Bus Stands.

• Grant-in-Aid and Equity of Rs. 200 Crore to HRTC.

• Quality Monitors will be appointed for monitoring the quality of works in PWD.

• Rs. 50 Crore budget provision for installation of Steel Crash Barriers on the Accident Prone Sites.

• State Knowledge Cell on the Climate Change to be strengthened.

• e-Payment for effective and transparent Tax Collection to be made compulsory for all registered dealers under VAT & CST.

• Scheme of Deemed Assessment to the dealers to be simplified. Common Login-id to be provided to all dealers for uploading of all returns under different Acts.

• Trucks entering Himachal with full on-Line Declaration of Goods not to be stopped at Barriers.

• Exemption limit for Dhabas, Halwai, Chai and Chat Dealers will be raised to Rs. 8 Lakhs for payment of VAT.

• Small Traders with less than Rs. 25 Lakh turn-over to be provided a Group Accidental Insurance cover of Rs. 2 Lakhs.

• Inter-State Purchase or Sale also to be brought under Lump-Sum Scheme.

• VAT on Fabrication of Truck/Bus Bodies to be reduced to 5 per cent.

• The CGCR Tax levied on packaged water bottles to be reduced.

• Private parties to be invited to start Helicopter Service from Chandigarh to Shimla and other Tourist Destinations.

• Magicians and Circus performances to be exempted from payment of Entertainment Duty for ten years.

• Tourism Infrastructure Projects of US $ 62 Million to promote Community Based Tourism Activities.

• Aero-Sports Rules to be simplified for encouraging Adventure Tourism.

• Meritorious Students of 10th and 12th Class to be distributed 10,000 Net books/Lap-tops under ‘Rajiv Gandhi Digital Yojana’.

• Vocational Training in 100 more Government Senior Secondary Schools to be extended and 200 Vocational Teachers to be appointed.

• Extension of Two Years in Service to be given to the National Awardee Teachers. One Additional Increment also to be given to them in lieu of Cash Prize.

• One exclusive College for Fine Arts to be opened to promote Visual & Fine Arts.

• Existing ITIs to have additional Demand Driven and Employment Oriented Trades and ITIs at Nalagarh in Solan and Baroh in Kangra to be upgraded as Model ITIs.

• 10 new State of the Art ITIs with related trades and 400 student intake capacity to be opened.

• Only 50 per cent Stamp Duty to be charged from entrepreneurs establishing new ITIs on the private land in Tribal & Hard Areas/Backward Panchayats. Building Grant of Rs. 10 Lakh to be provided to them after starting ITI.

• Regional Vocational Training Institute for Women to be opened at Jhundla in District Shimla.

• HP State Skill Development Corporation to be constituted.

• A Skill Development Institute to be opened for Skill Up-gradation of Construction Workers.

• 8,000 Rural Youth of BPL Category under NRLM and 5,000 Urban Poor under NULM to be equipped with appropriate Skills.

• A budget outlay of Rs. 100 Crore proposed for Skill Development Allowance.

• Indoor Auditoriums for cultural events to be constructed at district headquarters, where such facility does not exist. Rs. 25 Crore budget proposed for the purpose.

• Multi-purpose Indoor Sports Complex to be constructed in district headquarters, where there is no such facility. Rs. 35 Crore budget proposed for the purpose.

• Annual Grant to Youth Clubs to be enhanced to Rs. 20 Thousand.

• All the Accredited and Recognised Journalists to be covered under Group Accident Insurance up to Rs. 5 Lakh and Rs. 3 Lakh respectively.

• Rs. 1 Crore proposed for Construction of Press Clubs.

• All India Institute of Medical Sciences to be established in Bilaspur. 3 Medical Colleges to be established at Nahan, Chamba and Hamirpur at a cost of Rs. 189 Crore each.

• A Super Speciality Block for Tertiary Care Services to be constructed in IGMC at a cost of Rs. 150 Crore.

• Burn units to be established in all district hospitals in a phased manner.

• A pilot Tele-Medicine Project in PPP Mode to be launched in CH Keylong and Kaza and 25 CHCs of Sirmour and Chamba districts and CHC Dodra-Kawar.

• 7,750 Asha Workers to be placed in villages after training.

• 200 posts of Doctors and 500 posts of Para-Medicals to be filled up.

• Blood Sugar Testing facility to be provided at Health Sub-Centre level.

• Geriatric Wards to be started in all district hospitals.

• ‘Mukhya Mantri State Health Care Scheme’ to be launched for Treatment of Basic and Critical Ailments of Ekal Naaris and Senior Citizens above 80 years not covered under RSBY or any medical reimbursement scheme.

• Study on Hill Towns through PPP Mode. Moreover, Solid Waste Management to be taken up on pilot basis in Sunder Nagar and Dharamshala Clusters in collaboration with Government of Netherlands.

• Rs. 30 Crore to be provided for execution of Sewerage Schemes in Urban/Semi-Urban areas.

• Urban Local Bodies developing Parking Lots/Facilities to be supported by providing 50 per cent of the Project Cost for which budget provision of ` 15 Crore proposed.

• Circular/Cart Road in Shimla to be widened.

• Additional Grant of Rs. 3 Crore to be provided to MC Shimla for developing Infrastructure for Specific Schemes in the Merged Areas.

• Mixed Land Use to be promoted in all Planning Areas.

• A new Housing Scheme-‘Land Owners become Partners in development with HIMUDA’ to be launched.

• Financial assistance of Rs. 2,500 provided to Women for Self-Employment to be enhanced to Rs. 5,000.

• System of tracking of pregnancy through Anganwari Workers, Asha Workers and village level Monitoring Support Committees to be institutionalised to check female foeticide.

• Girls belonging to the families having up to two daughters without any male issue to be given preference in the Appointment as Anganwari Workers/Helpers.

• Free Medical Facilities to all girl child up to the age of 6 years.

• Scholarship per girl child from 1st to +2 standard under ‘Beti Hai Anmol Yojana’ to be enhanced by 50 per cent.

• Couples adopting permanent family planning after single girl child to get enhanced incentive of Rs. 35,000 and couples adopting permanent family planning after two girls, to get enhanced incentive of Rs. 25,000.

• Government to bear expenditure on further studies in Government Institutions in respect of Girls Leaving Children Homes.

• Social Security Pension of Old Age, Disabled and Widows to be enhanced to Rs. 600 per month. Persons with Disabilities of more than 70 per cent and Senior Citizens above 80 years to get Rs. 1,100 per month as Pension.

• Integrated Scheme for Older Persons to improve their quality of life to be revamped.

• The Aid under Follow-up Programme for the Purchase of Sewing Machine by Women to be enhanced from Rs. 1,200 to Rs. 1,800.

• A Corpus Fund to be set up with Government contribution of Rs. 2 Crore for Development of Minorities.

• All Bonafide Himachalis qualifying UPSC Preliminary Examination for Civil Services to get Coaching Assistance of Rs. 30 Thousand per candidate.

• Financial Assistance to 2nd World War Veterans to be increased from Rs. 2 Thousand to Rs. 3 Thousand.

• A budget of Rs. 3 Crore for the State War Museum at Dharamshala.

• Rs. 2 Crore to be provided for repairs of Sainik Rest Houses.

• All Police Posts to be designated as Subordinate Police Stations enabling them to register FIRs.

• A State of the Art Centre for Cyber Security Investigations and Innovations to be established.

• 2 more Women Police Stations to be opened.

• One Voice Analysis and One Digital Forensic Division to be created in State Forensic Science Laboratory.

• Remuneration to Home Guards to be enhanced from Rs. 260 to Rs. 280 per day.

• Three more Fire Posts to be opened at Ghumarwin, Sarkaghat and Sunni.

• 6 additional Post/Courts of Mobile Traffic Magistrates to be created.

• 5,000 functional posts of different Departments to be filled up.

• 7 per cent Dearness Allowance & Dearness Relief to the State Government Employees/Pensioners to be released with the salary of April, 2015.

• Income Limit for Compassionate Employment to be raised to Rs. 1.50 Lakh per annum.

• Daily Wage increased from Rs. 170 to Rs. 180.

• Daily Wagers completing seven years of service as on 31st March, 2015 to be regularised.

• Part-Timers completing 8 years of service as on 31st March, 2015 to be made Daily Wagers.

• Honorarium of Part-Time Water Carriers increased from Rs. 1,500 to Rs. 1,700 per month.

• Contract Employees completing five years of service as on 31st March, 2015 to be regularised.

• Maternity Leave to the Contractual Female Employees to be increased from 112 days to 135 days.

• Daily Wager, Part-Time Workers, Aanganwari Workers/ Helpers and Mid-Day Meal Workers to be covered under ‘Mukhya Mantri State Health Care Scheme’.

• Additional Budget provision of ` 30 Crore for Construction of New Government Residences and` 15 Crore for Repair of Government Residential Houses.

• Rs. 20 Crore to be provided for Police Housing.

• Pension Scheme for MGNREGA Workers, Agriculture and Horticulture Labourers, Shop Workers, Other Workers in the Unorganised Sector.

• The Budget for 2015-16 proposed for Rs. 28,339 Crore.

Campus Watch

As major achievement, Nauni varsity scientists bag International project on oilseed research

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Nauni varsity scientists bags international project

Solan: Dr YS Parmar University of Horticulture and Forestry (UHF), Nauni, was in news last week after Jagriti Thakur, a research scholar at the varsity, won US-based International Plant Nutrition Institute (IPNI) Scholar Award for the year 2018.

This week, in a major achievement, the scientists of Department of Plant Pathology at the UHF, have bagged an International collaborative project on developing cutting-edge technology for inducing biotic and abiotic stress tolerance in mustard rape for economic and environmental sustainability.

The University will work with nine leading research organisations of the country besides seven renowned research institutes of United Kingdom in the project. The three-year project has a total budget outlay of more than Rs 7.27 crore as Indian component, which will be distributed to the 10 Indian institutes, which are part of the project. Each Indian institute will work on a different aspect of the project with a researcher working on the same area in the UK.

The project has been sanctioned under the prestigious NEWTON BHABHA Fund UK- India Pulses and Oilseed Research Initiative (PORI). The fund has been created by BBSRC of the Government of the United Kingdom and the Department of Biotechnology, Ministry of Science and Technology, GoI.

BBSRC which is a part of UK Research and Innovation, a body which works in partnership with universities, research organisations and government for promoting research and innovation is also making upto £3.5 million available to support the UK components of this research.

Dr HR Gautam, Professor and Head of Department of Plant Pathology informed that Dr Anil Handa, Professor of Plant Pathology will be the Principal Investigator and coordinator of this project while Dr Rajnish Sharma working in the Department of Biotechnology will act as the Co-Investigator.

He added that this achievement is one of the cherished moments in 55 years history of the department. Dr JN Sharma, UHF Director of Research, said that the University is making continuous efforts to get projects from various funding agencies and engage in collaborative work to strengthen the research capabilities and infrastructure.

India is one of the major producers and consumers of oilseeds crops in the world. The university scientists will work on ‘Genomics-led improvement of biotic and abiotic stress tolerance in mustard rape for economic and environmental sustainability’ by utilizing state-of-art advanced molecular approaches like CRISPER/Cas9 for mapping the genes conferring resistance to turnip mosaic virus (TuMV).

UHF Nauni Lab

The Plant Virology laboratory of the Department of Plant Pathology

The Plant Virology laboratory of the Department of Plant Pathology is an internationally acclaimed laboratory and has facilities for conducting molecular level research for determining the genetic diversity of TuMV in Northern India and developing a panel of Indian TuMV isolates for evaluating European and Indian sources of resistance.

Besides Dr YS Parmar University of Horticulture and Forestry, Nauni, the University of Delhi, South Campus; NIPGR, New Delhi; NBPGR, New Delhi; NRCPB, New Delhi; IARI, New Delhi; PAU, Ludhiana; CAZRI, Jodhpur; DRMR, Bharatpur and IIT Kharagpur will be a part of the project. The University of York, University of Hertfordshire, University of Warwick, University of Essex, Earlham Institute and Rothamsted Research will be the investigators from the United Kingdom.

While congratulating the scientists, UHF Vice-Chancellor Dr HC Sharma said that the project will go a long way in using the latest techniques in biotechnology for disease management to increase the productivity of oilseed crops. This project will also help train our students in using molecular markers for crop improvement.

Through this collaborative project, efforts are being made to encourage multi-institutional collaborations between UK and Indian researchers to undertake high-quality research aimed at increasing crop productivity, resilience, sustainability and quality of pulses and oilseeds grown for food or feed in India. Pulses and oilseeds are important crops in India.

Pulses are relatively under-used crops in the UK but are a major source of dietary protein in India. Oilseeds are grown in both countries and are a valuable source of oil for a variety of uses, as well as animal feed. This collaborative project aims to develop exploit genomic and bioinformatic resources to aid the development of improved varieties for sustainable crop production.

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MoU to construct Naina Devi-Anandpur Sahib ropeway signed

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naina devi-anandpur sahib ropeway mou signed

Shimla: A Memorandum Of Understanding (MoU) to build ropeway between Shri Naina Devi and Shri Anandpur Sahib was signed by Additional Chief Secretary Tourism Ram Subhag Singh, Himachal Pradesh and Secretary Tourism Punjab Vikas Pratap Singh, in Chandigarh today.

The MOU in the presence of Himachal Chief Minister Jai Ram Thakur and his Punjab counterpart Captain Amrinder Singh.

This ropeway will be constructed by Shri Naina Devi and Sri Anandpur Sahib Ji Ropeway Company Pvt Ltd with an estimated cost of Rs. 210 crores. The ropeway would cover a distance of 3.5 km.

A 10-member Board of Directors would be formed, and each government would nominate five members. The Chairman of the Board of Directors would be nominated by the Punjab government and the Managing Director would be appointed by the Himachal government. Both the governments will deposit 50 Lakhs each as an initial investment.

Chief Minister said that the lower terminal of this project would be at Rampur near Shri Anandpur Sahib, the Intermediate station will be at Toba in Himachal and the upper terminal point would be at Shri Naina Devi. The tourism departments of both the states would work as nodal agencies for this work.

The Tourism and Local Bodies Ministers Navjot Singh Sidhu said that inking of MoU by both the Chief Ministers on the auspicious birthday of Sheed-e- Azam Bhagat Singh is a big gift to the mankind.

In 2012-13, the efforts were made to build this ropeway and 14 acres of land was also acquired for this but due to some circumstances, the work could not be completed.

Naina Devi is one of the 52 famous Shakti Peethas of the country and is one of the most prominent religious places for not only the peoples of the country but the entire world. Likewise, Shri Anandpur Sahib is also a prominent international the religious place.

This project would boost the tourism sector in both the states alongwith strengthening the bond between two states besides facilitating the devotees visiting these two religious places.

It was informed that 80 percent pilgrims come to Shri Naina Devi from Punjab and during last one year, 20 Lakh devotees paid their obeisance in this Shakti Peeth.

The Chief Minister informed that for the construction of this impending ropeway, the matter had been taken up with his Punjab counterpart Captain Amarinder Singh on February 26, 2018.

The Chief Minister of Punjab said that with the construction of this ropeway the pilgrims of Punjab would get rid of the difficulty in reaching Shri Naina Devi.

He said that people of both the states would like to see this project completed at earliest and three year’s time frame has been fixed for its completion.

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Himachal suffers Rs. 1479 crore losses in 4 days alone, Centre releases Rs. 122 crore for rehabilitation

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Monsoon losses in Himachal pradesh in 2018

Shimla: Himachal Pradesh has suffered losses of about Rs. 1479 crore and during the last four days alone. Five choppers of Indian Air Force had been pressed into service to evacuate the stranded tourists and local people.

Chief Minister, who chaired a review meeting today, informed that the Centre Government has released Rs. 122 crore as the first instalment for the State for undertaking immediate rehabilitation measures.

himachal cm in meeting

Chief Minister Jai Ram Thakur during meeting held today

Over one thousand people have been rescued from Lahaul valley out of these 147 have been airlifted and remaining have been evacuated by road.

He said the road would be cleared upto Baralacha by this evening. All the rescued people were being taken for medical examinations. Efforts were being made to restore communication network in Lahaul valley.

He directed the officers to ensure adequate availability of essential commodities in the valley. He said that a team of BSNL would visit Sisu today for the restoration of communication in the area. The Government has assured all possible help to the BSNL in restoration work.

Out of 18 towers of BSNL in the valley, seven were working properly.

It was informed in the meeting that 18000-litre petrol and 27000-litre diesel was made available. LPG and other food items were also in sufficient quantity. It was informed in the meeting that water Supply to Manali has been restored and Lahaul valley was also almost restored.

Till the electricity supply was restored in the valley, efforts would be made to provide solar lamps and lights to the people, it was informed. Small transformers would be airlifted from Kullu to replace damaged transformers.

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