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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

Martyr Tilak Raj Cremated with State Honour, Crowd Throngs to Pay Last Respects

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HP CRPF Martyr tilak raj cremated in Kangra

Kangra-Today, Tilak Raj, one of the 40 CRPF jawans martyred in Pulwama terror act on February 14, 2019, was cremated with state honour in his native village Dhewa in Nauna panchayat of Jawali region in Kangra district.

A pall of gloom descended on the village after the mortal remains of the Shaheed Tilak Raj reached his native village draped in tricolour. Villagers surrounded the father Layak Ram and his family and extended moral support to them in this hour of great grief .

His brother, Baldev, lit the pyre while entire area echoed with slogans of “Shaheed Tilak Raj Amar Rahe (Long Live Martyr Tilak Raj)” and “Pakistan Murbdabad.

While the wife of Tilak was in a semi-conscious, inconsolable state, her 3-years-old son was unaware of the fact that he had lost his father. This pain is further aggravated with the mention of his newborn baby who is only 22 days old.

His mortal remains arrived at Nurpur today morning. Chief Minister Jairam Thakur also paid his last respects by laying a wreath on the coffin.  The Chief Minister also took part in the last journey of the martyr.

 The State Government has already announced financial assistance of Rs. 20 lakh to the kin of the martyr. Today, the Chief Minister assured that State would provide government employment to the wife of the martyr.

 The Union Health Minister J.P. Nadda, former CM and MP Shanta Kumar, Food and Civil supplies Minister Kishan Kapoor, Health Minister Vipin Singh Parmar, and MLAs Arun Mehta and  Rakesh Pathania also paid their last respects to the martyr and met his family.

Tilakraj was a talented man, a good singer, and an athlete. He had written, sung, and released some of the songs. Some songs like Neelam Gaddan, Pyari Monika, Apne Ghar are also available on his YouTube channel Tilak Shanu Productions.

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Rs. 292 Crore Loan Agreement Signed with WB for Greater Shimla Water Supply & Sewerage Services

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World Bank Loan for Greater Shimla Area Water Supply and Sewerage services

Shimla-Himachal Pradesh Government, Government of India and World Bank have signed Development Policy Loan – I ( DPL 1) amounting Rs. 292 Crores for the water supply and sewerage services in Greater Shimla Area in a meeting held at New Delhi today.

The total negotiated loan amount is Rs. 986 Crores

As per the official report, the components to be covered under Shimla Water Supply and Sewerage Project include:

  • Construction of water supply system from Satluj and rehabilitation of Giri and Gumma pumping systems to supply 107 MLD at a cost of Rs 366 crore
  • Improvement in water distribution and Supervisory Control and Data Acquisition (SCADA)  at a cost of Rs 270 crore,
  • Extension of sewage network at a cost of Rs 246 crore
  • Rehabilitation and a capacity addition of sewage treatment plants at a cost of Rs. 104 crore

These will ensure per capita supply of water to 135 LPCS (Litre per capita per day) besides round the clock supply universal coverage, the official sources claimed.

The State Government claims that this is the first Development Policy Loan in the water sector for institutional reform, volumetric tariff, water connections, energy efficiency and customer satisfaction.

Shimla’s water supply infrastructure with a capacity of 40 million litres daily (MLD) is unable to meet the current demand of 56 MLD. As elsewhere in urban India, around half the available water is lost to leakages and unauthorized siphoning. As a result, the water supply reaches citizens only once in two days and for limited hours. With at least 30-40% of the city’s population of around 200,000 not covered by the sewerage system, sanitation has also emerged as a public health issue in Shimla.

The State Government has, jointly with the Shimla Municipal Corporation, set up a dedicated utility which will take over WSS services for the city; these responsibilities were hitherto fragmented between different agencies and departments, leading to blurred accountability. This utility — the Shimla Jal Prabandhan Nigam Ltd or SJPNL – will run the city’s WSS system. Policy decisions such as setting water tariffs and subsidies will be done by the State Government and the City Municipality.

The $40 Million Loan from the International Bank for Reconstruction and Development (IBRD), has a 4-year grace period and a maturity of 15.5 years.

This DPL will help SJPNL orient itself as a customer-focused utility that has the technical capacity, governance framework, and performance-based management policies needed to provide reliable water and efficient sanitation to the citizens of Shimla,

said Mr Junaid Ahmad, World Bank Country Director

Prabodh Saxena Principal Secretary Urban Development signed the loan agreement and Program agreement on behalf of Government of Himachal Pradesh.

Sameer Khare, Additional Secretary, Department of Economic Affairs (DEA), Ministry of Finance, GoI signed the legal and program agreement on behalf of Government of India.

 Bandana Preyasi, Director DEA was also present in the meeting. Sh. Junaid Director Ahmad, Country and Smt Smita Misra, Team Leader represented the World Bank in the meeting.

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Himachal braveheart among 40 CRPF jawans martyred in Pulwama attack

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Himachal CRPF Jawan Tilak Raj of Kangra

Kangra- The 40 jawans of the Central Reserve Police Force martyred in Pulwama, Jammu & Kashmir, in one of the most ghastly terror attacks also included a braveheart of Himachal Pradesh.

Tilak Raj, 32, hailed from Dhewa village in Jawali area of the Kangra district. He was survived by wife and two sons. His second son is only 22 days old. He had returned to join the duty on February 11, 2019, after attending the birth of his second baby.

The family was left heartbroken as the news of his martyrdom reached them. The villagers were visiting his house to consol the grieving family.    

Chief Minister Jairam Thakur expressed grief over the departure of all Jawans. He announced a compensation of Rs. 20 lakh to the family of martyr Tilakraj.

Tilakraj was a talented man, a good singer, and an athlete. He had written, sung, and released some of the songs. Some songs like Neelam Gaddan, Pyari Monika, Apne Ghar are also available on his YouTube channel Tilak Shanu Productions.

The entire nation was shocked when the news of the attack broke out yesterday evening. A suicide bomber reportedly rammed an SUV loaded with over 300 kg of Improvised Explosive Device (IED) into the vehicles of the CRPF convey.

The anguish against terror groups as well as Pakistan broke out in India and several foreign nations also condemned this despicable act.  Hashtags seeking revenge were trending on social media. 

The terrorist group Jaish-e-Mohammed (JeM), founded by Masood Azhar, and claimed the responsibility for the attack. The suicide bomber who rammed the explosive-laden SUV into the convoy was identified as Adil Ahmad Dar, also known as Adil Ahmad Gaadi Takranewala. He was a resident of Gundibagh village in Pulwama district of South Kashmir 

Governor Acharya Devvrat also expressed deep grief over the attack. The Governor also called off the dinner to be organised on Friday evening at Raj Bhawan for the Members of the state Assembly.

Statement of HP Chief Minister

Expressing his grief, the Chief Minister Jai Ram Thakur said that the State Government would provide all possible assistance to the bereaved family members of the martyr Tilak Raj. He said that this incident was a very unfortunate and cowardly act by the militants and that those involved in this incident would not go unpunished. 

Statement of Prime Minister

Prime Minister Narendra Modi said that perpetrators of Pulwama terror attack act will be punished. He has warned the perpetrators and those aiding and abetting terrorists that they have made a big mistake and will have to pay a heavy price. Stating that free hand has been given to the security forces to act, PM dared Pakistan not to live in the illusion that it can destabilize India.

Rahul Gandhi and former Prime Minister Manmohan Singh, the leaders of the opposition, Indian National Congress, said they stand with the government amid this dreadful terror attack.

With this attack, several questions are being raised over the failure of the Intelligence Agencies and State Police. About 2500 jawans were travelling in a convoy of 70 vehicles, which was not a usual protocol. 

The State Police or surveillance agencies had no clue that such a massive amount of explosives was present in an SUV, which managed to get on the road and ram into the convey.

At the same time, it’s worth pointing out that contamination of the working culture of the Defense sector with politics is also responsible for inciting terrorist groups.

After the militant attack in Uri in 2016 in which 19 jawans were martyred, politicians marketed the surgical strike of the Indian armed forces like a product for image building. Some veterans of the armed forces and political leaders had also asserted that information related to such operations should not be publicized.  Sadly, the valour of the armed forces was exploited for political gains.   

The government even started observing Surgical Strike Day. There was an effort to send a message that the victims of the Uri attack were avenged and that terrorists were hit and afraid.  It was obvious that terrorist groups would react to it with bigger, more damaging attack whenever they would receive any opportunity.  

Currently, as a response to the attack, India on Friday announced that it had decided to withdraw the Most Favoured Nation (MFN) status granted to Pakistan and would take all possible steps to isolate the country at the international level. 

A curfew was imposed in the affected region and teams of the NIA and NSG were on their way to visit the spot of the attack. Some suspects were also detained in relation to the attack.

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