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HP Cabinet Decisions 2018: 200 jobs in Ayurveda, relief for liquor industry, probe against 2 gold refineries approved    

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HP Cabinet decisions feb 2018

Shimla: Himachal Pradesh Government held a meeting on February 26, 2018, and took several decisions including an investigation into previous government’s decisions. The meeting was presided over by the Chief Minister Jairam Thakur.

Inquiries ordered by HP Cabinet  

First of all, the Bhartiya Janata Party-led HP Govt scrapped the tax refund scheme for two Gold Refineries in the State along with ordering vigilance probe for apparent criminal conspiracy to defraud the State of legitimate tax dues.

As per the State government, the two refineries owe the State total Rs. 14,10,98,423 as a tax of Gold Refinery Units under H.P. Tax on entry of Goods into Local Area Act, 2010.

 The Cabinet also approved probe into the Incentive scheme for revival of sick industrial units in Himachal.

The third probe will be ordered against approvals accorded for the construction of Circuit House building at Chambaghat and Hospital building at Kandaghat in Solan district.

As per the new government, the previous Congress Government flouted the rules of business and official instructions by starting the work on these projects without the prior approval of Council of Ministers.

HP Govt Jobs 

The Cabinet gave its approval to fill up following posts:

  • 200 posts of ayurvedic medical officers in Ayurveda department on contract basis. Out of these 100 posts will be filled batch-wise, while remaining 100 through direct recruitment.
  • Ex-post-facto approval to fill up 12 posts of Civil Judge (Junior Division) through direct recruitment from Himachal Pradesh Public Service Commission
  • Approval to fill up five posts of Lab Technicians
  • 1 post of Superintendent Grade-II,
  • 1 post of Senior Assistant and 1 post of Junior Office Assistant (IT) in Rajiv Gandhi Government Ayurvedic Hospital, Paprola
  • 2 posts of horticulture incharge and one post of assistant botanist in Ayurveda department.

HP Cabinet Excise Policy for 2018-119

The Cabinet gave its approval to Excise Policy 2018-19.  The government has decided to introduce the Maximum Retail Price (MRP) system on the sale of liquor (CL-Country Liquor and IMFL- Indian Made Foreign Liquor).

The government claimed the policy aims to balance the aspirations of citizens, consumers, manufacturers, suppliers, bottlers, wholesalers, retailers, and the Government. An emphasis has been given to streamline the supply of liquor from manufacturers to the wholesalers and to the retailers, it said.

As per the government, the policy will help Himachal to earn revenue of approximately Rs. 1552.88 crore for 2018-19, which will add Rs. 271.33 crores over the estimated revenue for the year 2017-18 with overall growth of 21.17 percent.

Other major decisions of excise policy include:

  • Conditions for securing source license have been liberalized
  • Numbers of excise levies have been reduced
  • The conditions for retailers regarding the unlifted Minimum Guaranteed Quota have been relaxed
  • Security amount fixed for the retailers at the time of allotment has been reduced from 18 % to 13 percent
  • Allotment of retail vends by a transparent draw of lots system this year
  • Approved policy for establishment of microbrewery for beer manufacturing in hotels, restaurants independently
  • For the establishment of microbrewery, government will reduce the import fee on ENA (a major raw material) and Beer
  • Rates will also be displayed in all the retail vends
  • INR 1/- will be collected and INR 2/- will be collected on the sale of every bottle of CL/IMFL which will be allocated towards the Ambulance Services Fund and Welfare of Local Bodies respectively
  • Wine producers in the Himachal will be allowed to sell their products directly to the retailers and bars.
  • Various excise levies were reduced substantially and transportation conditions have been relaxed, along with increasing the Import Duty on wines produced out of the State

Further, the Cabinet approved extension of guarantee support of State Government of Rs. 325 crore in favour of H.P. State Cooperative Agriculture and Rural Development Bank Ltd. upto March 31, 2019, to facilitate loans to the farmers.

Misc News/Press Release

Foundation Stone of Shiv Dham at Mandi Laid, Will Cost Rs. 150 Crore

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Shiv Dham Mandi model

Mandi: Shiv Dham construction at Mandi would cost over Rs. 150 crores to the State. It was informed during the foundation stone laying ceremony of the Shiv Dham Phase-I to be developed at Kangnidhar. The First Phase of this project would be completed at a cost of Rs. 40 crore, the government said.

The Shiv Dham would be developed in an area of 9.5 hectares. Shiv Dham would have replicas of twelve Jyotirlingam, a statue of Lord Shiva and Ganesh, Museum, Food Court, Herbal Garden, Nakshatra Vatika, Amphi-theatre, Orientation Centre, Car Parking etc. 

Further, it was informed that the foundation stone of multi-storey parking was laid near U-Block. An estimated amount of Rs. 100 crore would be spent on Public-Private Partnership mode, the government informed.

There is also a proposal to construct Rs. 27 crore Anaj Mandi (Grain Market) in Mandi, it was informed.

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New Farm Laws May Sound Death Knell for States like Himachal: 19 Organizations Said While Expressing Solidarity with Farmers Protest

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Himachal PRadesh supports farmers protest

Shimla-More support is pouring in for the farmers protest from Himachal Pradesh. Today, about 19 social organizations, women’s organizations, and farmer groups issued a joint public statement in solidarity with the three-month long farmer’s movement in the country.

The statement demands the repeal of three new farm laws introduced by the central government and calls for strengthening minimum support prices, extending it to crops, especially fruits and vegetables grown for the market in Himachal Pradesh. The statement is critical of the non-democratic manner in which the bills were passed in the parliament in a hurry in the middle of the Covid-led lockdown.

Highlighting the issues with each of the laws the organizations condemned the fact that these are designed to benefit the large corporate houses which would ultimately break the back of the farmers.

The Farmers’ Produce Trade and Commerce (Promotion and Facilitation) Act, 2020 has the potential of destroying the government-led APMC mandis, the organizations said.

The second law on contract farming puts the farmers in the dock by not just opening them to risks when getting into contracts with companies but also by closing the door of the courts for redressal for farmers, the statement said.

Also Read: Supporters in Himachal Displaying Solidarity With Protesting Farmers, Term Delhi Violence a Failed Conspiracy to Discredit Movement

Further, the statement said that the third law, the Essential Commodities (Amendment) Act, 2020, as corporates are allowed to buy, store, sell produce minus regulation and accountability of any sort. It also seeks to restrict the powers of the government with respect to the production, supply, and distribution of certain key commodities. It is now evident that this will have a direct impact on the storage and distribution of subsidized grains by the government. This can turn out to be a direct threat to the food security of the country.

“For a state like Himachal Pradesh where a large section of the population depends heavily on food grains produced by the farmers of the plains and distributed at subsidized rates through the PDS these laws could prove to be a death knell,” the groups said in the statement.

Even for those who are able to procure from the market, the rising prices of commodities would be a direct hit on their pockets. Apart from the consumers, the farmers of the state will also suffer a setback. The absence of MSPs for fruits and off-season vegetables and lack of APMC markets here have already been a cause of concern for the cash croppers of the state, the statement read.

“In fact fruit and vegetable producer unions have been demanding extension of MSPs and better markets so that apple producers for example are not exploited by ‘middlemen’ and private vendors,” the organizations said.

In the Terai region where there is a surplus of maize produce, farmers are forced to sell it at Rs 1000 to 1200 whereas Rs 1850 is the MSP – but the markets are too far for them to access, they said.

The statement has also condemned the manner in which the state and central governments have tried to defame the peaceful protests through various tactics.

“The repression of those coming out in support of the farmer’s movement, be it activists or journalists reporting on the developments is utterly shameful and against the principles of democracy,” the statement said.

The groups said that they are also going to send this statement as a submission to the President of India demanding the repeal of the three laws.

Housing in makeshift camps, tens of thousands of farmers have been protesting on Delhi borders for nearly 100 days now. Though the protests had begun last year, the movement has seen massive growth in recent weeks as it receiving support from environmental activists, opposition parties, and even Western celebrities. Now, this farmer’s movement is spreading to the country’s northern and western farm belts.

The group of organizations that issued this statement include All India Democratic Women’s Association, HP (AIDWA), Bhumiheen Bhumi Adhikar Manch, HP, Bharat Gyan Vigyan Samiti, Citizens’ Rights Forum, Kangra, Ekal Nari Shakti Sangathan, HP, Ghumantu Pashupalak Mahasabha, Chamba, Himachal Kisan Sabha, Himalaya Niti Abhiyan, Himdhara Environment Research and Action Collective, Parvatiya Mahila Adhikar Manch, Right To Education Forum, HP, Samajik Arthik Samanta ke Liye Jan Abhiyan, Save Lahaul Spiti, Spiti Civil Society, Sirmaur Van Adhikar Manch, Sambhaavnaa Institute, SUTRA, Solan,  Tower Line Soshit Jagrukta Manch, Himachal Pradesh, and Zila Van Adhikar Samiti, Kinnaur.

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Ugly Brawl at HP Vidhan Sabha on Budget Session’s Opening Day, Five Congress Legislators Suspended for Rest of Session

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HP Vidhan Sabha

Shimla- The Budget Session 2021-22 of the Himachal Pradesh Vidhan Sabha witnessed an ugly scene on the opening day of the session. The situation was so tense that it led to a scuffle between BJP MLAs, Minister, and Congress legislator including the leader of opposition Mukesh Agnihotri. Congress alleged that its legislators were manhandled. Following this incident, five legislators including Agnihotri, Harsh Vardhan, Satpal Raizada, Vinay Kumar, and Sunder Singh Thakur were reportedly suspended for the rest of the session. Later, an FIR was also filed against the legislators at the Boileauganj Police Station.

It was shocking to see the Speaker, Deputy Speaker, and Chief Minister jumping into the brawl as it raised concerns about arrangement and management of security at the Vidhan Sabha.

The motion for their suspension was introduced and passed in the absence of opposition legislators.

What Happened at Vidhan Sabha

Mukesh Agnihotri disrupted the speech of the Governor saying that it includes no mention of crucial issues like price rise of petrol, diesel cooking gas, inflation, unemployment, corruption, back-door entries etc. Agnihotri said the speech was nothing more than a bundle of lies. Agnihotri claim that Dattatreya had skipped a major portion of his speech and had chosen to stay mum on these critical issues. Governor Bandaru Dattatraya, following din, did not read the entire speech and ended his speech within 15 minutes abruptly.

Subsequently, the proceedings were adjourned till 2 pm on Monday. 

When the Governor was leaving from Vidhan Sabha, Mukesh Agnihotri, along with other Congress legislators, blocked the road and did not let the Governor’s car leave the premises. Agnihotri was seen trying to lay on the bonnet of the car. Videos clearly showed legislator pushing each other and using a hostile tone. Minister Suresh Bhardwaj was seen falling down on the ground, while Deputy Speaker Hans Raj was seen pushing Congress legislators.

“It’s the first time in the history of Himachal Pradesh Vidhan Sabha that the Governor did not read the entire speech and allegedly fled the Vidhan Sabha,” Agnihotri said. He said that Congress legislators only wanted to speak to the Governor.

Agnihotri alleged that they were pushed, dragged, and manhandled even though they were only raising slogans and did not even touch the Governor or the Chief Minister. 

Speaking on the suspension of five Congress legislators, Vikramaditya Singh, MLA of Shimla (Rural) questioned as to why only action was taken on the Congress legislators and not the Deputy Speaker, Hans Raj. In videos, he was seen pushing Congress legislators.

The Speaker, HP Vidhan Sabha, Vipin Parmar condemned the ruckus and blamed it on the Congress legislators. He alleged Congress of manhandling the Governor. He said that the incident has brought embarrassment to the State Assembly and the constitution of India. 

Later, when the session was resumed, referring to the Rules of Procedure and Conduct of Business in Himachal Pradesh Legislative Assembly, the Chief Minister said that Rule number 30 says,

“No member shall interrupt the Governor when he is addressing the House; or display any placard; or shout any slogans; make nay protect; or raise any point of order, debate; or discussion; or otherwise willfully disrupt the proceedings, immediately preceding or during, or immediately following the Governor’s Address under Article 175 (1) of the Constitution and the Governor’s Special Address under 176(1) of the Constitutions, and the commission of any of the above lapses shall be treated as contempt of the House and dealt with as such under these rules.”

The session is scheduled to conclude on March 20.

The chief minister will present the budget for 2021-22 in the Assembly on March 6, Speaker Vipin Parmar had said on Thursday.

 

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