The Cabinet in its meeting held here today approved World Bank Funded Rs. 1000 crore, HP Horticulture Development Project for the State and in Society mode besides formation of Society at the apex level under the HP Society Registration Act, 2006.
Under the project, the Cabinet also approved creation of Special Purpose Vehicle (SPV) to manage the Progeny cum Demonstration Orchards (PCDO’s) and the farms owned or under the possession of Horticulture and other departments, in a society mode by the society to be created under the HP Society Registration Act 2006.
It also approved the handing over the management of PCDO’s of horticulture/ other departments to the SPV on agreed terms and condition through MoU’s to be signed between the SPV and the concerned department.
Stating this in the meeting, Chief Minister Virbhadra Singh said that the function of the societies or SPV formed therein would be to set up modern nurseries and demonstration orchards of various fruits and cultivars, flowers and vegetables and to manage these PCDOs profitably so that the requirement of quality, plant material could meet on regular basis.
The Chief Minister said that the project would help ensuring better post harvest management besides supply chain management and establishing alternative market management and use of information technology in the development of Horticulture Sector in the State besides enhancing horticulture competitiveness at the farm level.
The Cabinet also accorded its approval for development of ropeway projects in Himachal Pradesh. The main projects approved for development are Neugal (Palampur), Bhunter-Bijli Mahadev,
Dharamkot- Triund, Toba-Nainadevi ji, Shahtalai- Deotsidh and Sarahan- Bashal Kanda as per revised RFP document.
The Cabinet also approved Special Purpose Vehicle constituted by the promoter in the name of M/s Manali Ropeway private limited draft concession agreement and the permission to sign agreement with the promoter on the revised project cost as presently proposed Rs 340 crore by the company. It also gave its nod to recover the balance amount of Project Development Success Fee, if any, with interest of 12 percent per annum from the date of signing of concession from the company at the time of submission of final revised Detailed Project Report be approved or not.
The Cabinet also authorized Director Tourism to sign the Palchan-Rohtang Ropeway Project agreement.
Cabinet gave its nod to minor amendments in section 10.4.1 and section 10.4.2 in Interim Development Plan of Shimla Planning Area, where change of land use will be done at Administrative Department level. Re-construction of existing buildings on old lines except Heritage buildings shall be permitted provided the façade and architectural features are maintained.
The Cabinet approved Schemes and guidelines for implementation of State Mission on Food Processing.
It also approved creation of National Optical Fiber Network with a view to connect all the Panchayats in the State subjected to the condition that the damaged roads were repaired. It also gave its nod for revised policy for setting up of Mobile Communication Tower for effective quality of services.
It decided to enhance Block Guarantee from Rs. 10 crore to Rs. 13 crore in favour of National Minorities Finance and Development Corporation, New Delhi and Rs. 10 crore to Rs. 12 crore in favour of National Handicapped Finance and Development Corporation, Faridabad with the objective of social, economic and educational up-liftment to the people of Minorities Communities and persons with disabilities below in poverty line in Himachal Pradesh.
Cabinet’s Nod to create /fill as many as 250 posts
The Cabinet also approved constitution of Waqf Tribunal as per Waqf (amendment) Act 2013 and to seek the concurrence of the Chief Justice of High Court for appointing a District and Session Judge as Chairman of the Tribunal.
The Cabinet also approved regularization of Ayurveda Officers appointed on contract basis under Rogi Kalyan Samitis in Ayurveda department.
It also decided to wave off 90 percent entertainment tax from Kings XI Punjab for the matches played on 15th, 17th and 21st May, 2011 at Dharamshala.
Cabinet approved opening of New Industrial Training Institutes and introduction of trades therein
Regulations and Acts
The Cabinet also accorded approval for amendment in HP Private Medical Educational Institutions (Regulation of Admission and Fixation of Fee) Act, 2006. It was decided to incorporate a new sub-section 6a of section 3 in the Act wherein “in order to ensure common standards for maintaining the excellence of medical education in the State, only the Himachal Pradesh University shall have the exclusive to affiliate private medical colleges set up in the State”.
The Cabinet also agreed upon appointing all Additional Deputy Commissioners and Additional District Magistrates as ‘Administrator’, all Divisional Commissioners as Commissioners and all Sub Divisional Officers (Civil) , all Land Acquisition Collectors of different departments be appointed as Collectors for the purpose of Right to Fair Compensation and Transparency in Land Acquisition, Rehabilitation and Re-settlement Act, 2013.
Earlier, the Chief Minister accorded warm welcome to Health Minister Kaul Singh Thakur who had undergone by-pass surgery. The Chief Minister wished him healthy life.
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.