The 46th Statehood Day of Himachal Pradesh was celebrated with great gaiety today. Chief Minister Virbhadra Singh presided over the Statehood Day function organized at Jaisinghpur in Kangra district.
He hoisted the National flag and took salute from the impressive march past by contingents of Police, Home Guards, NCC Cadets and school children.
Speaking on the occasion, the Chief Minister said 25 January was a historic day for the people of Himachal Pradesh as this hilly State got Statehood status on this day. He remembered first Chief Minister of the State Dr. Y.S. Parmar and former Prime Minister late Smt. Indira Gandhi who played a significant role in getting Statehood status for the State in 1971.
He said that the real credit of the unprecedented development goes to the hardworking people of the State and also to the leadership provided by successive Congress governments at the Centre and the State.
Virbhadra Singh announced Sub-Divisional offices at Nagrota-Bagwan and Shahpur, HPSEB division at Jawalamukhi, DSP office and Fire Brigade unit at Jaisinghpur and up-gradation of Panchrukhi police post to fully fledged Police Station in Kangra district. He also announced government Degree College at Rakkar in Dehra sub-division and to take Sugh-Bhatoli and S.D Rajpur private colleges under the control of State government.
He announced up-gradation of Government Middle School Jhunga-Devi to Government High School and GHS Harsi to Government Senior Secondary School, construction of science block at Jaisinghpur College and starting of science classes at GSSS Sari. He also announced up-gradation of GHS Tangroti to GSSS at Dharamsala. He also announced construction of additional accommodation in PWD rest house Jaisinghpur and new Primary Health Centre (PHC) at Jagrupnagar besides a Veterinary Hospital at Harsi.
The Chief Minister said Dharamshala had been made second Municipal Corporation of the State to ensure planned development of this town. He said Chadiar, Haripur, Gangath, Panchrukhi, Alampur and Darini were made Sub-Tehsils and Dadasiba as Tehsil by the present government. Apart from this, a new sub-division had been approved for Jawalamukhi whereas Tehsil Welfare Offices had been opened at Shahpur, Nagrota-Bagwan and at Rakkar in Pragpur in Dehra sub-division.
Counting the development achieved in the Kangra district during last three years, he said a sum of Rs. 26 crore was being spent under Rajeev Gandhi Electrification programme and to give fillip to tourism in the district, approval had been given for Himani-Chamunda rope-way and the foundation stone of rope-way between Dharamsala to Macleodganj had been laid which would be completed within one and a half years. The work to replace the old transformers in Dharamsala and Yol Cantt was in progress and Rs 3.60 crore new electric Sub-station would be constructed at Damtal.
The Chief Minister said 166 kilometres of new roads and 29 bridges were constructed in the district. He said 8842 hand-pumps were installed during this period and 62 new irrigation schemes were under construction. AS many as 66,450 persons in the district were being provided social security. He added the decision had also been taken to open Football academy at Dharamshala.
Virbhadra Singh said last three years had witnessed speedy and all-round development of all areas of the State and government was implementing various policies and programmes to ensure welfare of every section of the society. He said with the blessings and affection of the people of the State, he was fortunate to serve the State as the Chief Minister for sixth time and his top priority was ensure a transparent, responsive and efficient administration for welfare of the people.
He said that government had adopted its election manifesto as a policy document and had gone beyond to fulfill the promises made in the manifesto. Around 1365.65 kilometers of new motor-able roads and 134 bridges were constructed during last three years and 255 villages had been provided road connectivity.
The Chief Minister said emphasis was being laid on providing houses to poor and needy. As many as 13652 houses had been constructed under Indira Awas Yojana by spending Rs. 8538.65 lakh and 2141 under Rajiv Awas Yojana at a cost of Rs. 2280.47 lakh. Besides, three Biswas of land was being provided to the landless in rural areas and two biswas in urban areas.
He said 994 new schools had been opened or upgraded and 25 new degree colleges have been opened in rural areas during last three years. More than 100 health institutions were opened or upgraded and 1775 posts of various categories had been created for three new medical colleges to be opened shortly in the State. The government was effectively implementing ”Rajiv Gandhi Anna Yojana” to provide ration at subsidized rates to about 37 lakh people of the State. All ration card holders covering more than 77 lakh people of the State had been brought under PDS BPL families were being provided 35 kilograms ration as before.
The Chief Minister said social security pension had been enhanced from Rs 450 to Rs 600 per month and persons above 80 years of age were being given Rs 1,100 per month irrespective of their income. As many as 6,949 additional habitations had been covered under rural water supply scheme and Rs.
773 crore were spent on water supply schemes besides installing 4,887 hand pumps during this period. He said 10,586 hectare area had been provided irrigation facility by spending Rs. 400 crore. The work was in progress on channelization of Swan river in Una district and Chhonchh Khad in Kangra district while Rs. 191 crore River Pabbar channelization Project in Shimla district had also been approved.
Virbhadra Singh said new state-of-art industrial areas were being established at Kandrauri in Kangra district and Pandoga in Una district at an estimated cost of Rs 95.77 crore and Rs 88.05 crore respectively. Time bound clearances are being ensured within 45 days from the date of submission of common application form for setting new industries. He said that 1,07,887 youth had been benefitted under Skill Development Allowance Scheme so far being implemented for skill development of the unemployed youth.
The Chief Minister also distributed the prizes to the participants of the cultural troupes.
Forest Minister Thakur Singh Bharmouri, Housing and Urban Development Minister Sudhir Sharma, Chief Parliamentary Secretaries Jagjivan Pal and Neeraj Bharti, MLAs Sanjay Rattan, Ajay Mahajan, Kishori Lal and Yadvinder Goma, Vice-Chairman Freedom Fighter Welfare Board Pandit Sushil Rattan, Chairman State School Education Board Balbir Tegta, chairman KCCB Jagdish Saphehiya, Vice-Chairman State Forest Corporation Kewal Singh Pathania, Ex-MLA Milkhi Ram Goma, Chief Secretary P. Mitra, DGP Sanjay Kumar and senior civil and police officers were present on the occasion.
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.