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Infuriated Shimla Mayor calls Smart City evaluation formula ridiculous, alleges Mission Director of partism mind set

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Shimla Mayor Files FIR against

SHIMLA- In press note, the Mayor of Shimla city said that he was shocked to note some of the reports that appeared in the press regarding Dharamshala being chosen for Smart City from Himachal Pradesh. The qualification for Dharamshala has only come after evaluation by Mission Director and her staff, who are not final authority. He also alleged that the minutes of HPSC have still not been confirmed, therefore, he has raised objection. He also said that as far as the evaluation done by Mission Director it seems they have not learnt any lessons from the past and continue to work with partism mind set. The entire exercise by Mission Director is being done in a slavish manner at the behest of UD Minister, he said.

Based on the Shimla Municipal Corporation (SMC) participation in the Smart City HPSC meeting held on January 7, 2016, the Mayor asserts on the following points:

1) The severe indictment of the Department has come to the fore of fudging the data in past which they have admitted by bringing in a new consolidated Smart City Score for both Shimla and Dharamshala. This amply proves that there has been serious partism functioning on the part of the department as both the score sheets of the past and present does not match. What does it prove?

2) The UD department led by the Mission Director in strong abatement with the Minister have come up with their own imaginative score sheet placing percentile instead of points. What does this mean? According to the Departments evaluation excel with all their concoctions, Shimla score 77 points (though the actual figure is 85) and Dharamshala scores 72.5 (Actual score is 32.5). However, with their own imaginative formula Shimla gets score out of 100 and were as Dharamshala gets score out of 80, which leads to a percentile of 77.5 and 90% for Shimla and Dharamshala respectively. This is utterly ridiculous; firstly this was never brought to the discussion prior to the evaluation and completely contradicts to the guidelines of evaluation format under stage 1.

3) Even if there ridiculous formula is to be accepted, but the actual data and not fudged data (32.5) is to be considered then they score 40.6%, which is nearly half which Shimla scores.

4) He strongly condemned the hell bent attitude of the Mission Director and in case the HPSC to recommends the same evaluation criteria then MC Shimla will be left with no other option but to resort to a legal solution. This is what MC Shimla has to speak on the merits of Smart city score card evaluation.

During the meeting following observations were raised by the Mayor:

1. Total Scoring Pattern
He pointed out that why now the scoring for Dharamshala town is taken from 80, this means that ACS UD and her team have not paid any attention for conducting evaluation earlier and she has just nominated city wrongly and in pressure from Government. It was also agreed by ACS UD that earlier they have made fallacious evaluation.

2. JNNURM Reforms
Dharamshala city has not done any single reform as per UIDSSMT reforms, then how come Dharamshala assigned 10 marks against this earlier. Similarly now why this parameter was not taken for final scoring. Dharamshala is an UIDSSMT town and as per the guidelines of UIDSSMT, Dharamshala has to achieve all the six reforms such as i) Adoption of modern, accrual-based double entry system, ii) Introduction of system of e-governance using IT applications for various services iii) reform of property tax with GIS, so that it becomes major source of revenue for Urban Local Bodies (ULBs) iv) Levy of reasonable user charges by ULBs/Para-statals with the objective that full cost of operation and maintenance or recurring cost v) Internal earmarking within local body, budgets for basic services to the urban poor vi) Provision of basic services to urban poor.

Whereas Dharamshala town has not done any single reform which was also supported and agreed by Commissioner Dharamshala town. When the Commissioner Dharamshala was questioned regarding Double entry accounting system, he replied that they are now starting to implement. Similarly Shimla has completed all the reforms which was agreed by the members of Committee.

3. Self Financing of Salaries
Commissioner Dharamshala submitted that they pay their staff salaries from the grants, however as per the parameter of scoring salaries are to be paid by own source of ULB. However, evaluation committee which only comprises ACS UD and Director UD have given full marks. Hon’ble Mayor objected and mentioned that since the salaries are not paid by their own income the marks of Dharamshala town should be 0. The evaluation committee has not adhered to the criteria given in the score card, which justifies their interest for promoting Dharamshala town.

4. Contribution of internal revenue sources ((self-generated) used for capital works
How can Dharamshala MC spend more than 20% of their own revenue on capital works when there revenue is equal to their salaries? Total salary of Dharamshala MC per month is Rs 22.60 lakhs as per the given figures, and total revenue of MC Dharamshala is Rs. 2.74 crore. This means that entire revenue gets exhausted for disbursement of salary of Rs 2.71 crore.

Further, how Dharamshala city can justify utilisation of its funds for capital expenditure. Similarly if they are utilizing the revenue for capital expenditure, than how the Dharamshala MC is self financing its salaries. They are only left with Rs. 3 lakhs as per there revenue statement. Hence the ACS UD and Director UD have not made serious thoughts while evaluating. The total score of Dharamshala MC for this parameter is also 0.

5. Other Points raised

1. The Mayor requested to the Committee to show supporting documents of Dharamshala town. However, Dharamshala Municipal town and ACS UD had no document to produce against the parameters defined in score card, which showed that the marks are given in whims and fancies for promoting Dharamshala town.
2.
Similarly Shimla city had all substantiate documents against all the parameters, the copies of same were also supplied to the committee.

This clearly indicated that ACS UD has simply promoted city for her own interests, he said.

3. With dissatisfaction from the scoring and evaluation including no supporting documents from Dharamshala city, he submitted the score card of Dharamshala town to the Steering Committee which showed the actual evaluation of Dharamshala MC. The total score of Dhramshala as per actual scoring is 32.5 out of 100 and Shimla MC is 85 out of 100.

4. The evaluation committee even after the directions from Hon’ble High Court has not undertaken the exercise seriously and the entire exercise is again done for formality. The evaluation is done in non transparent manner concealing the actual facts. The Committee was required to evaluate based on guidelines and score Card, the committee has not given any heed to read the score card and its parameters carefully.

5. In light of this, he requested the Committee for fair evaluation and insisted that there has to be reason why only Dharamshala town is selected for Smart city. Whereas if Dharamshala can qualify than any other town in Himachal such as Rampur, Kullu, Mandi, Talai, Solan etc qualify equally. He insisted that Committee should give serious thoughts to his suggestion.

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Special Campaign for Issuing Golden Card under Ayushman Bharat Yojana Launched

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Golden Card under Ayushman Bharat Yojana

Shimla-Secretary Health Himachal Pradesh, Amitabh Awasthi, informed that under Ayushman Bharat-Pradhan Mantri Jan Arogya Yojana a special campaign has been launched to issue Golden Card. He said that under this campaign, camps have been organized to issue cards and the department is also issuing cards by visiting the houses of eligible candidates.

He said that under this special campaign that started from 19th November 2020, Golden Cards have been issued to 29660 families (67520 persons). Golden Cards have been issued to 74.2 percent of families whereas in India this figure is 49.6 percent. The Health Department has targeted to issue Golden Cards to the remaining families by 31st March 2021, he informed.

Ayushman Bharat-Pradhan Mantri Jan Arogya Yojana was launched by the Government of India on 23rd September 2018. This scheme is also being implemented in Himachal Pradesh from 23rd September 2018. Under the scheme, there is a provision of free treatment facility of upto rupees five lakh on hospitalization.

At present 200 hospitals in the State are registered under this scheme, out of which 64 are private hospitals, he informed. Beneficiaries can also avail free medical treatment facility anywhere in the hospitals registered by other states or Union Territories across India.

He said that for this scheme families have been selected based on the social, economic cast census, 2011 and National Health Insurance scheme (2014-15) and about 1579 representation have been included for free treatment. Day-care surgeries have also been included in it. Under the scheme, the eligible families have been selected by the Government of India and about 4,78,985 families are eligible in the State out of which Golden Cards of 3,56,372 families have been made.

He said that under the scheme 81,898 beneficiaries have received the benefit of free medical treatment worth Rs. 87.26 crore in the State.

Amitabh Awasthi said that under Ayushman Bharat-Pradhan Mantri Jan Arogya Yojana, issuing Golden Cards is a routine process and eligible families can prepare their Aadhar Cards and Ration Cards at the nearest Lokmitra Kendra.

He said that due to COVID-19 pandemic the work of issuing Golden Card has been affected and the Cards could not be issued to the eligible families as the beneficiaries needed to visit the nearest hospital or Lokmitra Kendra to prepare the Cards. He said that under this scheme, if the beneficiary has not prepared Golden Card, then the hospital issues him the Golden Card immediately at the time of treatment so that they could avail the benefit of free treatment. He said that to know about eligibility one can contact on toll-free No. 14555 and can log in to the website (mera.pmjay.gov.in.)

 

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HP Cabinet Decisions: Nod to Extend Engagement of SMC Teachers, Modify Penalties/Fines for Vehicles, Amend Mukhya Mantri Swavlamban Yojna

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HP Cabinet Decisions Feb 23, 2021

Shimla-Apart from giving nod to carry out amendments in Himachal Pradesh Municipal Corporation Act, 1994 and Himachal Pradesh Municipal Corporation Elections Rules, 2012, to carry out this year’s elections on party symbols, the Cabinet also gave its nod to the Governor’s Address to be delivered during the budget session of H.P. Vidhan Sabha.

The Cabinet gave its approval to the proposal to modify penalties/fines under Section 210A of the Motor Vehicles (Amendment) Act, 2019, as well as to specific authorities competent to compound the offences under Section 200 of the Act.

The Cabinet also gave its nod to extend the engagement of 2555 SMC teachers already engaged under SMC teachers Policy in Elementary and Higher Education Departments for the academic session 2021-22.

The Cabinet gave its approval to provide government land on a lease basis at the rate of one rupee per month for a period of 99 years in Mauja Dhaulakuan Tehsil Paonta Sahib district Sirmaur measuring 122-08 bighas in favour of Dr. Y.S. Parmar University of Horticulture and Forestry Nauni at Dhaulakuan for the establishment of Regional Horticulture Research and Training Station for the benefit of the farmers.

It gave its consent to construct additional accommodation at Rest House Sundernagar in Mandi district at a cost of Rs. 3.90 crore to provide better boarding and lodging facilities to the employees and the general public during official tours.

The Cabinet also decided to extend the Special Land Acquisition Unit at Nalagarh in Solan district and also engage staff on a re-employment/ fixed emoluments basis for one year from 1st January 2021, as the land acquisition work in the stretch of Baddi-Nalagarh road length of 18 kilometres under Project Director NHAI Shimla was being done by Land Acquisition Collector Nalagarh.

The Cabinet gave its consent to rename Government Senior Secondary School Manoh in Hamirpur district as ‘Shaheed Ankush Thakur Government Senior Secondary School, Manoh’ as a mark of respect to the Galwan martyr Ankush Thakur.

The Cabinet decided to implement Mukhya Mantri Krishi Kosh Scheme for Farmer’s Producer Organizations (FPOs)-2020 for providing incentives, concessions and facilities for eligible FPOs of the State. Under the Scheme, FPOs could avail seed money upto 30 percent of the total project cost with a maximum ceiling of rupees six lakh or one and half times of equity raised by the FPOs, whichever was less. The Scheme would also ensure Credit Guarantee Cover for Bank Loan, Interest Subsidy etc. 

It gave its approval to transfer land comprising in Khasra No. 60 situated at Mohal Bazar ward Chhota Shimla, which is presently under possession with Police Department, in the name of Municipal Corporation Shimla to shift the existing two shops of the Corporation to Khasra No. 60 so that widening of Sadbhawana Chowk could be undertaken to ease out the situation of traffic congestion on Chhota Shimla to Kasumpti road.

The Cabinet gave its consent to provide reservation of one seat in ANM or B.Sc. Nursing Courses for eligible widows below 45 years of age in each Nursing Institute of the State.

It gave its approval for amendment in Mukhya Mantri Swavlamban Yojna 2019 to reduce the burden of loan on the entrepreneurs and the subsidy would be deposited in the term loan account of the borrower and would be adjusted only after three years. Now after disbursement of 1st instalment of loan by the bank under the scheme, the General Manager, GIC would approve the subsidy amount in two instalments of 60 percent initially and 40 percent after the unit commences commercial production/operation and physical verification of the unit has been done. The remaining 40 percent subsidy amount would be released within 15 days of the verification.

The Cabinet gave its nod to fill up 12 posts of Junior Office Assistant (IT) in the Prosecution Department on a contract basis through direct recruitment.

It also gave its nod to fill up:

  1. Four posts of Deputy Superintendent of Police on regular basis through direct recruitment.
  2. Eight posts of Junior Office Assistant (IT) in Geological Wing of Industries department on contract basis.
  3. One post of Manager DIC in the Industries Department on contract basis through direct recruitment. 
  4. Two posts of Junior Office Assistant (IT) in the Information Technology Department on a contract basis.
  5. One post of Assistant Director, Factories (Chemical) on contract basis in the Labour and Employment Department.
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Himachal’s Municipal Corporation Elections 2021 to be Held on Party Symbols as Cabinet Gives Nod

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HP MC Elections 2021 on party symbols

Shimla-Municipal Corporation elections 2021 in Himachal Pradesh would be held on party symbols, the state cabinet decided in a meeting held on today. The elections would be announced during the budget session starting from February 26. 

The municipal corporation elections in, Mandi, Palampur, Solan and  are scheduled to be held next month. There was a growing demand that this time the elections should be held on party symbols.

The cabinet would carry out amendments in Himachal Pradesh Municipal Corporation Act, 1994 and Himachal Pradesh Municipal Corporation Elections Rules, 2012.

These amendments would pave way for conducting elections to Municipal Corporations on Party symbols, provide reservation for OBCs, provision of disqualification on grounds of defection, strengthen provisions of no-confidence motion etc.

It’s pertinent to mention that this decision has also come right after elections to panchayats, zila parishads, and block Simitis, which were not held on party symbols. While Bharatiya Janata Party has been claiming that it dominated these elections, the opposition alleged it of misusing government machinery and using unethical means to lure independent candidates in order to display the majority.

Last time, in 2012, when the elections were held on party symbols, the seats of Mayor and the Deputy Mayor had gone to the Sanjay Chauhan and Tikendar Panwar of Communist Party of India (M). 

“CPI(M) is in favour of elections of urban local bodies and Panchayati Raj Institutions to be held on party symbol. Elections of Municipal Corporation Shimla were held on party symbol in the past but the government changed it. Left ruled state Kerala is holding all urban body and panchayat elections on party symbol. This will definitely help in curtailing horse-trading by the party in ruling with government influence and using money power in elections and politicize the people will strengthen the democracy,” Sanjay Chauhan told Himachal Watcher in a statement .

The ruling government, according to reports, is also mulling over to put in place an Anti-Defection law to discourage the practice of horse-trading.

The opposition has also been demanding direct elections to the post of Mayor and Deputy Mayor. But the government was yet to take a decision on it.

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