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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.

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Himachal: Daily New COVID-19 Cases Crosses 1000 Mark, State Govt Directs Admins & Police to Show Strictness in Implementing SOPs

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Himachal Pradesh daily COVID-19 update april 12

Shimla– Reeling under the second wave of the COVID-19 pandemic, Himachal Pradesh continues to report a huge surge in daily new cases and fatalities. On Monday, the state recorded 1089 cases – the highest in 24 hours this year. Nine more people succumbed to the infection, taking the COVID-19 death tally to 1111. Highest three deaths were reported from Una district, followed by Mandi (3).  View more details on fatalities below:

covid-19 deaths

Kangra district reported the highest 249 cases, followed by Solan (166), and Lahaul-Spiti (114). Find more district-wise details below:

himachal pradesh covid-19 surge

Source: HP NHM

Today’s cases also include former Chief Minister of Himachal Pradesh, Virbhadra Singh, who tested positive. Earlier, his son Vikramaditya had also tested positive for COVID-19. Pertinent to mention that Vikramaditya Singh had campaigned in the Municipal Corporation elections that were concluded on April 7. 

Further, 18 cases were reported from Pine Grove School, Solan. 

The state government, which had been mostly showing a casual approach towards the surge since the beginning of the second wave of the pandemic, is now coming hard on it in its review meetings.

Chief Minister Jairam Thakur is now asking elected representatives of the local bodies to ensure that the people strictly follow the SoPs regarding temples and marriages.  The PRI members are being directed to motivate and advise the old people, those with co-morbidity to avoid going to public places as they are most prone to this virus.

“Such persons must be reverse quarantined meaning that their movement outside their houses should be minimized to the extent possible,” Chief Minister today said.

Yesterday the state government had made it mandatory for people arriving from seven high load states to carry RT-PCR negative report. The decision would apply from April 16 onwards, the government had decided.  However, he had added, that the state would remain open for tourists.

Chief Minister has asked the representatives of the PRI to keep an eye on the people visiting from other State, particularly from the high load states.

“As far as possible such people must be asked to remain in home quarantine for 10 to 14 days and getting themselves tested for COVID-19 and should not mix with the general public of the area,” he said.

The Transport Department was directed to ensure the sanitization of buses and other public transport.  Shopkeepers were told to strictly follow the ‘No Mask, No Service’ policy. Private bus operators were also asked to properly sanitize their buses and also ensure plying buses without overcrowding.

District administrations were asked to ensure that social functions such as marriages etc. strictly follow the maximum limit prescribed for such events.

Chief Minister said that action if required could be taken against the violators.

The District administration of Kullu district was directed to ensure that all the tourists visiting the district strictly follow SoPs issued from time to time. He told the administration that all the guidelines need to be followed and implemented strictly.

He said that the Ayurveda Department must also provide ‘kada’ to the patients under home isolation. The Police Department was directed to ensure that no casualness be adopted by the tourists, particularly in tourist spots such as Manikaran, Kasol, Manali etc.    

Deputy Commissioner Mandi Rugved Thakur, informed that 1,33,878 total sample done in the district, active cases were 443 and positivity ratio was 8.25 percent and fatality rate 1.2 percent. He said that 51 per cent cases in the district were from urban areas.

 

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HP Govt Makes RT-PCR Negative Report Mandatory for People Arriving from Seven States

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entry of tourists in himachal pradesh

Shimla-Tourist movement to Himachal Pradesh is likely to get hit during the peak season as the state government has made it mandatory for people of seven high load states viz. Punjab, Delhi, Maharashtra, Gujarat, Karnataka, Rajasthan and Uttar Pradesh need to carry 72-hour prior RT-PCR negative report while visiting the State. The restriction would apply after April 16th.

The decision came after Chief Minister Jairam Thakur, who had been insisting that there would be no restriction on tourist movement to avert economic losses to the tourism industry, held a review meeting amid a massive surge in new cases and deaths.  

The state government has decided to allow tourists to visit the State, but at the same time, hotel owners and tourists should strictly adhere to the SoPs, Chief Minister said.

“The virus was spreading at a fast pace which was the biggest concern. During the last 45 days, the State has reported 10,690 new covid cases. 120 deaths were reported in the State during the last 45 days,” he said.

Over 900 new cases with 12 fatalities were reported on Saturday only.  On Sunday, according to the Health Department’s daily update, the state recorded 512 new cases. 

Pertinent to mention that Maharastra, Delhi and a few other states had been suggesting that a complete lockdown could be imposed if the high rate of resurgence continued in the coming days.

Though the Chief Minister had been maintaining that lockdown would be the last resort, the tone appears to be changing with the worsening of the COVID-19 situation.

Further, laying stress on twin strategy for testing, tracing and treatment with effective surveillance of micro containment zones, Chief Minister said that greater emphasis must also be laid on RT-PCR tests to achieve the target of 70 percent RT-PCR tests.

He said that the State Health Department must also take steps to increase bed capacity to meet out any eventuality.

Meanwhile, no restriction has been put on the devotees visiting various temples in the State during the Navratri festival.

The government said no overcrowding would be allowed in buses and other public transport and private vehicles. Wearing face masks even in vehicles must be enforced strictly.

Chief Minister, who faced widespread criticism over violation of SOPs during the political campaigning for elections to the Municipal Corporations, blamed laxity shown by the people for a sharp resurgence of COVID-19 cases in the State.  

 

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Himachal Pradesh: 662 New Cases & 7 Deaths in 24 Hours, Over 4500 Cases & 55 Deaths in 9 Nine Days

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Himachal Pradesh COVID-19 report

Shimla– The number of new daily COVID-19 cases and deaths in Himachal Pradesh was reported to be 662 and seven respectively on Friday till 7 pm. Kangra district reported the highest 165 new cases and four fatalities, while Sirmaur, Shimla, and Mandi recorded one fatality each.

View details of COVID-19 deaths below:

Daily covid 19 deaths

Source: HP NHM

Solan followed Kangra district with 132 new cases.

Find district-wise details of new cases below:

Daily COVID-19 deaths in himachal pradesh

Source: HP NHM

The COVID-19 case and death tallies have now reached 68173 and 1090 respectively. In April, the state has recorded a huge surge in cases. In the nine days of this month, the state has recorded 4568 new cases and 55 COVID-19 deaths – a rate of more than six deaths per day.

The state government today reviewed the situation in its Cabinet meeting and expressed concern. However, no restrictive measures were taken except extending the closure of all educational institutes till April 21.

Chief Minister Jairam Thakur had been maintaining that a lockdown would be the last resort.

Further, the state government today said that to make vaccination people’s movement, 11th to 14th April may be celebrated as ‘Teeka Utsav’.

The government said that the biggest matter of concern was that the virus was spreading at a fast pace. In addition to this, the number of death has also increased rapidly. All the districts have been advised to enhance their capacity be it bed capacity, quarantine capacity and medical equipment capacity etc.

Chief Minister Jairam Thakur said that strict action must also be taken against those involved in gross violation of SOPs. He said that the hoteliers must also strictly follow the SOPs so that the State Government may not be forced to take action. He said that laxity shown by the people has resulted in sharp resurgence of Covid cases in the State.

It’s pertinent to mention that during the campaigning for the elections to Municipal Corporations, all parties and their leaders including the Chief Minister violated all SOPs without attracting any action. The parties also faced criticism for ignoring public health for the sake of political interests, thus, setting wrong examples for the public.  

Feature Image: Pexels@polina-tankilevitch

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