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Rahul’s Himachal Rally: Virbhadra Singh to lead party in assembly elections again




Mandi: In a public rally held at Paddal Ground in Mandi on October 7, 2017, the National Congress Vice-President, Rahul Gandhi, has announced Virbhadra Singh as the high command’s choice for Chief Ministerial candidate in the upcoming HP Assembly elections.

Rahul said Virbhadra is a ‘Fakir’ in the true sense. He urged the party leaders and workers to stand united to elect him as their Chief Minister for the seventh time.

On the other hand, Bhartiya Janata Party has still kept the state leaders in a dilemma. BJP is internally divided into two camps. The political activity and demand of the Union Health Minister JP Nadda have significantly increased recently.

Former Chief Minister, Prem Kumar Dhumal, is being over-shadowed by Nadda’s active presence. The Prime Minister Narendra Modi had also shown overwhelming appreciation towards the Union Minister at the recent political rally held in Bilaspur district.


While addressing the rally, Rahul focused on comparing development model of Gujrat and criticised the NDA government for demonetization and GST. He did not speak of the corruption charges against the Chief Minister and other repeated allegations of BJP regarding the presence of forest and mining mafia in Himachal.

Chief Minister provided employment to around 70,000 youth in the government sector, he said.

The Congress-led state government gave unemployment allowance of Rs.1000 to the unemployed whereas there is no such provision in Gujarat. The government opened or upgraded as many as 15000 schools whereas the Gujarat government closed 13,000 schools during last five years, said Rahul.

HP government opened four medical colleges, 57 degree colleges as opposite to Gujarat where just 25 degree colleges have been opened and no medical college during last five years.

The financial assistance for housing for different categories is Rs 1.30 lakh to poor in Himachal and mere Rs 70,000 in Gujarat. Social security pension in Himachal is Rs.700 per month and mere Rs.450 in Gujarat.

Rest, Rahul repeated the same claims regarding development in education, healthcare, youth employment etc. that the Chief Minister had been making.

He blamed Union government and PM Narendra Modi for the decline in Gross Domestic Product (GDP) and fall in GDP by 2 percent and said it led to mismanagement of the economic reforms.

He said the NDA Government has created trouble for all sections of the society by imposing Goods and Service Tax (GST). Services are now more expensive.

He said PM Modi has given the Indian economy the biggest blow ever.

Instead of one tax throughout the country, the NDA has imposed five different types of taxes completely derailing the economy with the imposition of 28 percent tax from the very onset.

Modi government failed to provide employment to two crore youth, as he had promised before elections. The Modi government failed to protect the interest of farmers as hundreds of farmers are committing suicide in the country. Loan waiver policies of the Union government also made a mockery of farmers in the name of waiving off loans, said Rahul.

People were family members to me and I don’t have servant-master relation with them,

said Chief Minister. He credited the development of this hill state to Gandhi family, right from Jawahar Lal Nehru to Rajiv Gandhi.

He said that 95 percent of the educational institutions are opened during the successive Congress regimes in the state. During last five years the government has opened or upgraded around 230 health institutions in the state, he said.

BJP Misinforming Public over Credit for AIIMS

He alleged BJP of misinforming people about the AIIMS. The government provided the land for AIIMS as demanded by the Union Health Ministry, but the BJP state leaders claimed that Union Government sanctioned AIIMS and gave funds for it, he said.

I want to make it clear that it was the responsibility of the central government’s to provide state share for undertaking development and the funds provided for AIIMS was not from anyone’s personal pocket, it was the funds from ‘Bharat Sarkar’ from the share of the state which the state government deserve and have full right to ask for,

said the Chief Minister adding

The Central Government can boast of funds provided to Union territories which were under the direct control of the Union government but it can’t claim the share of states as its own.

He said irrespective of the government in the centre, it is the moral duty of the Union government to release the funds earmarked for the states.

At the time of the formations of the state, there were hardly 288 kilometers of road and today the total road length stands 37,000 kilometers, he said

The state achieved 100 percent electrification, every village has drinking water facilities, he said. There are137 degree colleges in the state and 57 were opened in this tenure of my government.

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HP Govt re-shuffles 34 IAS officers amid ongoing plethora of assuarances to public



List of HP IAS transfered

Shimla: The new Government of Himachal Pradesh, led by the Chief Minister Jairam Thakur, has re-shuffled 34 IAS officials on January 5, 2018. Amongh these 34 officials, 10 were posted as the Deputy Commissioners of various districts.

Vikas Labro and Yunus Khan were the only two IAS Officers, who were not transfered and still hold the post of DCs of Una and Kullu respectively.

While there is nothing new in re-shuffling officials occupying important positions with the change in the government, a different pattern was observed emerging for the selection of candidates for these positions.

For the most important positions, the party is picking up candidates with a strong right-wing ideological background,well-tuned with the Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh (RSS) and had served dedicatedly as full-timers for the Akhil Bhartiya Vidyarthi Parishad (ABVP).

Other than this major decision to re-shuffle the administrative officials, the Chief Minister, Jairam Thakur, and his cabinet ministers continue to assure the public of delivering massive reforms in the governance and administration.

The Chief Minister, right after the swearing-in ceremony on December 27, had told the people that he would go after the ‘VIP Culture’. He had expressed consternation about the poor financial health of the Hill State, which is buried under a gigantic loan of Rs. 46,000 crores.

The biggest assurance is that the party and its ministers will imbibe and embody the concept of political equality as a way of life.

As Chief Minister is said to have hailed from a common farmer community, the people are expecting to witness a change in the feudal mindset of the politicians, ministers, and bureaucrats. The public thought this time all official formalities like the oath-taking ceremony, the usual cavalcade of luxury cars, and grand welcomes would be simpler instead of usual pompous display of power and privilege.

Grand Ceremony, Demand for Luxuries,  Transfers  

However, the ceremony came out to be pompous one in which a large number of so called VIPs including the BJP’s top guns Amit Shah and Narendra Modi and Chief Ministers of several states were invited.

Though, the Chief Minisiter denied it, the reports regarding the demand of the ministers for more expensive luxury vehicles and the quarrell over official residences are not going with the claims of ending VIP culture. 

Public Money Frittered Away on Bouquets

Other than that, as per a Hindi Daily Jagran, the Chief Minister was greeted at the State Secretariat by presenting him bouquets. The cost of these bouquets, said the daily, ranged between Rs. 300 to 1,000 depending on the quality and quantity of the flowers. However, the bureaucrats did not spend on these expensive bouquets from their own pockets, but from official accounts. A plethora of bouquets was seen at the Chief Minister’s Office or any place he visited.

After the news appeared in the paper, the Chief Minister issued directions that no official visiting him would present bouquets.  

The Chief Minister had fired all the re-employed officials after their retirement. The party has made the re-employment of retired employees a major issue prior to the elections. However, now the government has realized that in some cases, it can’t help it either.

In a cabinet decision taken yesterday, the service of 214 retired patwaris/kanungos engaged on contract basis were given extension till August, 2018 until the new batch of 1120 patwaris undergoing training will be recruited.

Further, the Chief Minister today proposed setting up more micro and small scale industries using the ample surplus land under Bhakra Beas Management Board (BBMB).    

Yesterday’s Assurances by CM and Cabinet Ministers

There would be zero tolerance towards the crime against women and corruption, said the Chief Minister while annoucing a 24×7 ‘Gudiya’ helpline today. The Chief Minister during his visit to the Press Club. To curb the corruption, the Atal Help Line will be provided, he said. 

The Cabinet Ministers are also conducting meetings with their concerned departments and assuring a revolution in work culture.

Industries Minister Bikram Singh 

Bikram Singh today assured he would make the state an industrial hub of the country in 100 days. As geographical variations have always limited the expansion of industries in the state, Bikram assured uniform industrialization by introducing a ‘New Industrial Policy’ focusing on ‘Rural Industrialization’.

He assured at the very least 80 per cent employments in up-coming industrial units to the youth of Himachal.

The minister also assured the Mining Officers will conduct regular inspection and form a special flying squad to check illegal mining. H

e said the mining sites and quarries will be auctioned in a transparent manner.

Minister for Food, Civil Supplies Kishan Kapoor

Similarly, Kishan Kapoor, in a meeting of Officers of  Food, Civil Supplies and Consumer Affairs  Department at Shimla today, promised there will be no compromise on quality of essential commodities under PDS.

The officers will physically go in the field and conduct regular inspection of fair price shops, take samples and ensure reporting, he claimed.  

Kapoor assured all the ration cards will be linked with Aadhar Number within 100 days. A toll free numbers 1967 is already functioning to redress the grievances of consumers, he said.

The government is giving a subsidy of more than 220 crore on subsidized food in Himachal, and it is  the “duty of officers to ensure quality in this ration to provide best food to consumers in every nook and corner of the State,” he said.

Urban development, Housing and TCP Minister Sarveen Chaudhary

Minister Sarveen Chaudhary on January 5 presided over a review meeting of HIMUDA. She assured the concerned officials will complete all the developmental projects in a time bound manner. She said “no compromise will be tolerated in the quality of works and complete transparency should be maintained in the departmental affairs”.

The Minister gave the department 100 days for highlighting the priority of works with the projection of the cost and resource management. She said a cleanliness drive will be launched in the state, if the statement of the Minister is considered.

As per the Minister, so far, the HIMUDA has developed 17,229 houses, flats and plots.

The construction of 146 flats and development of 181 plots is in progress, while four housing colonies at Sheel, Dharmapur, Trilokpur and Rajwari are in pipeline, she said.

The minister is assuring construction of five clusters for solid waste management in Baddi, Hamirpur, Kangra, Shimla and Mandi. Vendor markets will be opened in different parts of the state and all possibilities of providing parking spaces will be explored.

The new government has promise fixing the errors in working of government departments. These sessions of claims and promises are likely to continue for a month or so.

The Chief Minister is repeatedly expressing gratitude towards the Prime Minister Narendra Modi and the party high-command for giving him a chance to serve. He also assured the public that the foot-steps of PM Modi in the field of development will be followed in Himachal too.

Administrative Policy Paralysis

However, the biggest challenge for the government would be to do away with the administrative policy paralysis.

To the dismay of the public, there has been a major debate over the excess interference of legislature with the executive, which often prompted the judiciary to step in. The relation between the political class and the permanent executive hasn’t been so healthy.

It is evident from the repeated need of the intervention from the apex court to make the government work properly.

The court’s intervention comes in response to petitions by the vigilant section of the civil society, watchful media and the Right to Information Act.

In fact, with an intention to put a check increasing erratic and unresponsive executive power, the apex court had ordered formation of the Civil Service Board.



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Misc News/Press Release

Final list of ‘HP Cabinet portfolios’ allotted to ministers



HP CM Jairamthakur with Modi

Shimla: The Chief Minister Jairam Thakur has finalized allotment of the portfolios to the ministers of his cabinet. On Thursday, the ministers desperately waited for the decision on the portfolios, which did not arrive. However, the suspense ended on Friday. 

HP Cabinet Portfolios

Jai Ram Thakur Public Works Department, Tourism and Excise and Taxation, Revenue (CM)
Mahender Singh  Irrigation and Public Health besides Horticulture and Sainik Welfare.
Kishan Kapoor Food, Civil Supplies and Consumer Affairs and Elections.
Suresh Bhardwaj Education, Parliamentary Affairs, Law and Legal Affairs
Anil Sharma Minister for Power and Multipurpose Projects in additional to Non-Conventional Energy Resources.
Sarveen Chaudhary Urban Development, Town and Country Planning and Housing.
Ram Lal Markanda Agriculture, Information Technology and Tribal Affairs
Vipin Singh Parmar  Health, Medical Education, Ayurveda, Science and Technology.
Virender Kanwar Rural Development, Panchayati Raj, Animal Husbandry and Fisheries.
Bikram Singh Industries, Labour and Employment, Technical Education, Vocational and Industrial Trainings.
Govind Singh  Forests, Transport, Youth Services and Sports.
Rajiv Saizal Social Justice and Empowerment besides Minister for Department of Cooperation

Earlier, on Thursday, maintaining the tradition, the Chief Minister also made courtesy calls on Prem Kumar Dhumal and Virbhadra Singh at their respective residences.

Related Story: For more details read about all ministers of Jairam’s newly formed HP Cabinet

After giving a jolt to the chairmen and re-employed retired bureaucrats of various Departments of the Himachal Pradesh Government on his swearing-in day, the newly appointed Chief Minister, Jairam Thakur, remained in news on Thursday for the announcement of a new year gift of three percent dearness allowance (DA) to the employees of the State government.


DA to hp govt employees

After the internal tussle for the seat of the Chief Minister, now the elected cabinet ministers were said to have been lobbying to get their desired portfolios.

Jairam Thakur at Virbhadra Singh residence

Jairam Thakur at the residence of former CM- Virbhadra Singh/ Photo: Virbhadra Singh

Earlier, on Thursday, the CM addressed the employees of the HP Secretariat and announced that the government employees will receive a DA at the rate of three percent with the salary on February 1, 2018. The DA will be calculated since July 1, 2017, to January 2018. The pensioners will also receive the benefits, the CM had informed. For the allowance, the government will bear an additional financial expenditure of approximately Rs. 187 crore per annum.

He told the government employees to not consider their duties secondary. Though it is least expected from the employees, the CM did appeal to the to work beyond the duty hours to give enough time to the society and for the benefit of the people.

Like the previous-CM Virbahdra Singh, Jairam said,

Though the government endeavours to provide jobs in the government sector, I do believe that the mindset for only seeking government jobs be eschewed

There was no age to learn and one should learn at every stage of life, said the Chief Minister very sincerely.

I am open to the suggestions everytime, and I believe that suggestion by a common man can be fruitful and can be a turning point for betterment in the life,

he said.

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HW Big Picture

Pictures from swearing-in ceremony of Himachal’s new Chief Minister  




HP Chief Minister Jairam oath taking ceremony on the shimla ridge 2

Shimla: With the swearing-in ceremony concluding yesterday, Himachal Pradesh received its new government under the leadership of the Chief Minister Jairam Thakur of the Bhartiya Janata Party.

Himachal Watcher has a few images that we thought might interest our readers, especially those who missed the ceremony held on December 27 on the historic Shimla Ridge Maidan with a great pomp and show.   

New HP Chief Minister oath taking ceremony 10

The new Chief Minister swung into action immediately after taking the oath of the office and secrecy and held his first meeting with the 12-membered cabinetYou can read the decisions taken by the cabinet here

New HP Chief Minister oath taking ceremony3

Photo: Tarun Sharma

Though Jairam Thakur has expressed his wish to abolish the VIP culture, his own oath-taking ceremony remained a display of political strength and extravagant expenditures on facilitation of not only the Prime Minister, Narendra Modi, but also for his big guns including Union Ministers and Chief Ministers of several states.

New HP Chief Minister oath taking ceremony 8

Does it make sense for a state to spend on grand ceremonies when it is debt-ridden?

HP Chief Minister Jairam oath taking ceremony on the shimla ridge 5

We hope there are others who would accede to the idea of adopting simplicity while performing such formalities. However, this perspective of ours can’t be forced on anyone.

So, either way, these images will interest you. There was massive crowd comprising BJP supporters and Modi fans.  Remember, Mr Modi and BJP have become two different identities within the party. In Himachal, the people seem to have voted for Modi, not for the BJP. 

Otherwise, why would people elect BJP but reject its Chief Ministerial candidate and party president of the State BJP?

New HP Chief Minister oath taking ceremony

New HP Chief Minister oath taking ceremony 9

New HP Chief Minister oath taking ceremony6

New HP Chief Minister oath taking ceremony 5

New HP Chief Minister oath taking ceremony4

HP Chief Minister Jairam oath taking ceremony on the shimla ridge 14

HP Chief Minister Jairam oath taking ceremony on the shimla ridge 9

HP Chief Minister Jairam oath taking ceremony on the shimla ridge 7

HP Chief Minister Jairam oath taking ceremony on the shimla ridge 6

All HW Photo: Tarun Sharma

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