Shimla: The Himachal Pradesh Congress Committee today held a press conference on Wednesday at its headquarters in Shimla and released the party manifesto for the election to the State Legislative Assembly.
Led by the six times Chief Minister Virbhadra Singh, the Congress has made big and extremely tempting promises especially to the regular and contractual government employees and youth.
The Congress has tried to reach every sections of the society with its manifesto.
The Congress government, as usual, is promising ‘zero tolerance’ towards corruption and transparency through more use of information technology.
The party said that if it is elected by the public, then it would implement 4-9-14 pay scale to government employees. It has been a long pending demand of the employees, the party said.
Further, it assured regularization of the contractual employees in two years instead of current period of three years.
If elected to power, the Congress government assured the PAT, Para, Computer and other teachers of regularization.
The government has also promised to resume the pension benefits to the government employees recruited after 2003.
Daily wagers would be regularized after three years. Part time workers would become daily wagers after three years, said the Congress manifesto.
The age to avail the benefits of the old-age pension schemes, the age limit would be reduced to 75 years from current 80 years, said the manifesto. The citizens in the 60-75 age group would also receive social security pension.
Further, the Congress has promised that 5-10-15 percent pension allowance would be added to the basic pension.
On forming the government, the daily wage of the laborers would be increased to Rs. 350 from Rs. 210, said the manifesto.
The Congress has promised distribution of 50,000 laptops with 1 GB free data. It would include 35,000 meritorious students’ upto matriculation, 12,000 upto higher secondary, and 3,000 graduate students.
Under the Dr. Bhim Rao Ambedkar Scholarship scheme, the government would make provisions to send 10 meritorious students belonging to the SC category to foreign countries for higher education.
The party said it would open a gym and a ground in every panchayat of the state to boost sports activities. Every district would be provided a mini stadium, library and sports academy, said the party manifesto.
Further, the Congress said it would decentralize the power structure to empower panchayats.
The eligibility criteria for unemployment allowance would be made more flexible and liberal, it said.
The unemployment allowance would be increased from Rs. 1000 to Rs. 1500. For disables, the allowance would be hiked to Rs. 2000 per month from current 1Rs. 1500, said the manifesto.
In last five years, the government has provided about 70,000 youths with employment in the government and public sectors, said the manifesto.
The government promised to provide employment to about 1, 50, 000 youths in next five years.
The government would expand the training courses offered under newly established Himachal Pradesh Kaushal Vikas Nigam to help youths fetch jobs in the private sector, said the manifesto.Highlights of the HP Congress Manifesto for 2017 Assembly PollsIt would enhance the pace with which the public services are provided.
Other Highlights of the HP Congress Manifesto for 2017 Assembly Polls
- Computerization of government departments
- Simplified procedures for businesses and industries
- The government would appeal the Centre for raising the GST slab for the state from Rs. 10 lakh to Rs. 20 lakh.
- Would reduce the Vat on Petrol and Diesel
- Reduction of debt by checking unproductive expenditures and enhancing sources of the revenue
- Aid to registered youth clubs would receive funds and free sports kits.
- Special portals for senior citizens on the official websites of the government departments
- Construction of old age homes in all district headquarters along with recruitment of staff
- Special medical camps to provide free medical check-up and medicines to senior citizens
- Establishment of crèches and working women hostels in district and sub-divisional headquarters to facilitate working women
- The grant given to the widows for the marriage of their daughters would be increased to 1, 00, 000
- More women ITIs would be opened
- Helpline and mobile app to ensure women safety and quick reporting of crimes against women
- Infrastructure and grants to registered mahila mandals
- Would open more women police stations in all district headquarters
- The allowance to students availing facility of the coaching institutes belonging to the SC category under would be enhances upto 50 percent
- The implementation of the Forest Rights Act and swift delivery of community rights over forests.
- Improvement in the one-rank one-pension scheme to make it more effective
- Opening new schools, universities and model schools
- Free education upto graduation to all students belonging to the IRDP family
- Free vocational training to females
- Evaluation of CBCS RUSA system to fix the drawbacks
- Establishment of boarding schools in backwards areas
- Construction of toilets for girl students within six months
- Achieving 100 percent enrollment rate and zero drop-out rate within two years
- IT labs, free Wi-Fi facility for Colleges and higher secondary schools
- Free medical treatment and distribution of medicines
- Super-specialty wards in all districts
- Tele-medicine facility in remote areas that receive heavy snowfall
- 25 percent increase in the cadre of doctors, para-medical, and technical employees
- Free medical treatment to BPL families along with bearing additional expanses on the treatment
- Hike in the salaries of the doctors posted in backward and tribal areas
- Heli-ambulance for areas that receive heavy snowfall
- Implementation of the Factor-II to provide appropriate compensation in cases of land acquisition
- Motorable roads for all villages
- Improvement in quality of road work
- Connecting all district headquarters through four-lane roads
- Overhead bridges for public in cities and towns
- Completion of Bhanupalli-Bilaspur rail project
- Construction of the Baddi-Chandigarh Fast Rail Corridor
- Betterment of Pathankot-Joginder nagar and Kalka-Shimla rail lines
- Establishment of State Agriculture and Horticulture Commission to decide
- Measure to prevent crop damage by wild animals and monkeys
- 90 percent subsidy for fencing of the agricultural or horticultural land
- 90 percent subsidy on fertilizers, pesticides, and agricultural tools
- 90 percent subsidy on anti-hail nets
- Waiving off agricultural loans/intersts upto Rs. 1 lakh
- Nodal agency to ensure timely delivery of agricultural equipments, fertilizers and pesticides
- 90 percent subsidy on rain-harvesting infrastructure
- Implementation of Uniform Universal Carton policy
- Raising the demand of three-time increase on import duty on apple and to include apple to the WTO treaty
- Subsidy/financial aid for tubewells/borewells
- Establishment of more markets to save farmers from middle-men
- Formation of new Forest and Environment Policy
- Measure to ensure safety of forest guards and crimes related to the forest resources
- Formation of policy to eliminate monkey menace on agricultural lands
- Encouragement to eco-tourism
- Formation of high-level committee to analyise the causes of accidents and provide suggestions to make roads more safer
- Parking facility on districts, sub-divisional, tehsil, and sub-tehsil level
- Replacement of old HRTC buses with news ones
- Providing adequate budget for the pension fund of the retired employees
- Filling all vacant posts in the HRTC on priority bases
- Encouragement to tourism, home-stay scheme
- Parking facility at all tourist destinations
- Heli-taxi service in various tourist destinations of Himachal
- Expansion of the airports in Shimla, Gaggal, and Bhuntar
- Subsidy on the loans to youths for buying cabs
- Installing waste management plants
MP Anand Sharma’s Visit to Himachal Heats Up Politics After District Admin Cancels Two Inauguration Ceremonies
Shimla- Senior Congress leader and sitting MP Rajya Sabha Anand Sharma is on a four-day visit to Himachal Pradesh from Tuesday. During his visit, Sharma was supposed to inaugurate two developmental projects in Shimla. But the District Administration of Shimla has postponed the inauguration of these developmental projects. Congress has termed it a politically motivated step. This sudden cancellation of pre-planned ceremonies on the day of Sharma’s arrival has charged up the political atmosphere in the State, especially in the Shimla district.
The District Administration has written to Anand Sharma informing him that the two developmental projects he was supposed to inaugurate during his four-day visit to Himachal Pradesh had some unfulfilled official formalities and other pending works. The Administration said the community hall in Kleston was yet to obtain approval for the map of the building from the Municipal Corporation of Shimla, while the work of installing transformers at the old age home in Mashobra was yet to be completed.
The reason behind this decision is said to be the allegations labelled by a former Ward Councilor and BJP leader Sanjeev Sood that the map of the community hall was yet to be approved by the Municipal Corporation of Shimla and forest clearance was also pending. These allegations had also appeared in the media.
The District Congress Committee, Shimla (U) has opened a front against the District Administration for this sudden cancellation of the inauguration of two developmental projects and staged protests on Tuesday.
The DCC Shimla (U) staged a silent protest in front of the statue of Gandhi at the Ridge Maidan. Later, the workers marched to the Office of the Deputy Commissioner, Shimla, to register their protest.
Jitender Chaudhary – the President of the Committee- alleged that this cancellation was deliberate and purely politically motivated. He said the projects were funded through MPLAD by Sharma. Chaudhary also alleged that BJP was trying to take undue credit for these projects.
He alleged that the District Administration had already approved these two events, but cancelled them just a day before the arrival of the MP.
Chaudhary warned that if the District Administration still didn’t permit the inauguration of these projects, the party will stage more aggressive and massive protests.
Further, Congress Legislatures would also raise this issue aggressively in the HP Government’s Budget Session 2022-23. Anand Sharma – a senior Congress leader, former Union Minister and incumbent Rajya Sabha MP – is on a four-day visit to Himachal Pradesh. This visit has attracted the attention of both ruling and opposition parties. Sharma’s term as an MP ends next month, and speculations are being made that he could return to the State politics. The demise of Virbhadra Singh, who was the face of the Indian National Congress in Himachal Prades, has left a void in state politics and within the party.
Considering the stature of Sharma, after Virbhadra Singh there is hardly any Congress leader who could outshine him. Following the demise of Virbhadra Singh, the INC has no face to present as its Chief Ministerial candidate and several Congress leaders wish to grab this opportunity to change the power structure of the party in the State. This speculated return of Sharma to the State politics ahead of the Assembly elections to be held by the end of this year would be a nightmare for such Congress leaders. Further, it could pose a challenge for the BJP as Sharma is capable of settling the Congress party’s in-fighting and uniting it for the elections.
Big Responsibility to RS Bali, Appointed as District Poll Observer for Punjab Polls
Shimla-Raghubir Singh Bali has been entrusted with a big responsibility in the upcoming Punjab Assembly elections. All India Congress Committee has appointed Bali as one of the INC’s observers (Pathankot) in the polls.
The INC has appointed a total of 27 observers in 23 districts of Punjab, and RS Bali is the first name on this list. He has been assigned the responsibility from the Pathankot district.
This is not the first time RS Bali has been given a major responsibility by the high command. Earlier, he was assigned a major role in the West Bengal Assembly polls.
Other than Bali, Sudhir Sharma, Rajender Rana, and Rajneesh Kimta has also been appointed as observers from different districts.
AAP Forms ‘Committee’ to Strengthen Party in Himachal, Satish Thakur Appointed Chairman
Shimla-Aam Adami Party in Himachal Pradesh has expedited the process of forming and setting its house in order. This is evident from the ‘gherao, of the Vidhan Sabha in Dharamshala, followed by a press conference in Shimla. AAP has already announced to contest the elections on all 68 assembly seats in Himachal Pradesh. Very recently, the party also announced that it would also contest elections on all seats in the elections to the Shimla Municipal Corporation to be held in 2022.
In the press conference, AAP had also alleged that the state government used unnecessary police force which left many of its protesting workers injured.
AAP has already launched its membership drive. Unemployment, inflation, free electricity etc. are some of the issues the party has picked to gain the attention of the people.
Considering the campaigning pattern in the poll-bound neighbouring state Punjab, expect a variety of sops to woo the diverse voter bank. The party would definitely try to sell the Delhi model for development in Himachal Pradesh too. “Himachal Pradesh generates electricity and supplies it to neighbouring states including Delhi. If Delhi could provide free electricity then why not Himachal,” AAP spokesperson said in a press conference. Further, what bothers most the opponent parties is what they call ‘freebies politics of AAP’.
On top of it, the transformation of the government educational institutes in Delhi could also appeal to the people who are over-burdened with the hefty fees of the private institutes. The academic environment and infrastructure of government schools, which is in tatters, has left parents with no choice but to opt for private schools. But it’s to be seen as to how AAP balances the caste equation and regional distribution of power, especially after the haphazard formation of a Commission for the ‘ General Category’ in the state.
Yesterday, AAP constituted a “Central Development Organization Committee” for Himachal Pradesh. The purpose of this Committee, AAP said, is to strengthen the party and approach as much population as possible.
Sachin Roy would be the State Co-Ordinator and Satish Thakur was given the responsibility as the Chairman of the Committee. The formation of the Committee follows recommendations given by the APP state-in-charge, Ratnesh Gupta.
Other nominated members include Tilak Thakur, Naresh Thakur, Uttam Chand, Suresh Negi, Chaman Sharma, Doctor Balwant Dhindsa, Abhishek Thakur, Adarsh Mehta, Ramesh Thakur, Lakshman Negi, Raj Thakur and Uday Dogra.
The AAP state-chief, Advocate Anoop Kesari, congratulated all the members for being entrusted with these responsibilities.