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HP Cabinet Decisions Feb 17, 2020- With Renewal of Retail Excise Vends, Govt Expects Drop in Liquor Price, 13% Increase in Revenue

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HP Cabinet Decisions Feb 17, 2020

Shimla-Himachal Pradesh Cabinet meeting was held on February 17, 2020. Among several decisions taken were approval to Excise Policy for the year 2020-21, which expects a collection of Rs. 1840 crore revenue during the year 2020-21. It would be Rs. 215 crore higher than the financial year 2019-20 registering an increase of 13 percent, it was informed.

Renewal of the Retail Excise Vends

Further, it gave its approval for renewal of the Retail Excise Vends in the State for the year 2020-21. The government expects to gain adequate enhancement in government revenue, reduction in the price of liquor and to curb its smuggling from the neighboring States. The new Excise Policy also allows 30 percent of the Country Liquor quota for the liquor manufacturers/bottlers to be supplied to the retail licensees.  The balance 70 percent quota can be lifted by the retail licensees from the suppliers of their choice.

The new policy also expects to take FDR/Bank Guarantee from the retail licensees as security in lieu of security in a shape of property in order to secure the revenue of the government. From the next financial year, all the imported liquor in the State will be supplied by public custom bonded warehouse located in the State.  In addition to this, the policy also extended operational timings of the bars in all star-rated hotels and bars in specified important tourist areas from 12 noon to 2 am past midnight.

 HP Toll Policy 2020-21

The Cabinet also gave its approval for the H.P. Toll Policy for the year 2020-21. Under this policy, an option has been made for renewal of their lease after paying a renewal fee of one percent for the year 2020-21 and an increase of 10 percent over the bid amount for the year 2019-20.  The government expects that due to this new Toll Policy the revenue to be collected during the year 2020-21 will be Rs. 106 crore, which will be Rs. 9.5 crore more than the toll revenue estimated for the year 2019-20, giving an overall increase of about 10 percent.  

          It also gave approval for capacity expansion of Distillery from 45 KL per day to 85 KL per day in favour of M/s Premier Alcobev Private Ltd., Sansarpur Terrace in Kangra district. The State would earn an additional excise revenue of Rs. 18 to 20 crore per annum.

HP Govt Jobs

The Cabinet gave its nod

  • to fill up 23 posts of Junior Office Assistant (IT) in Labour and Employment Department on contract basis and continue the services of 173 Data Entry Operators in the Department till the posts are not filled up for which requisition has been placed with H.P. Staff Selection Commission.
  • to fill up two posts of Assistant Professor in Dr. Rajendra Prasad Medical College, Tanda, district Kangra in the department of General Medicine and Department of Obstetrics and Gynaecology through direct recruitment by HP State Public Service Commission.
  • to revive/restore one post of Reader (Kayachikitsa Vibhag) in Rajiv Gandhi Government Post Graduate Ayurvedic College, Paprola in district Kangra

The Cabinet also approved the H.P. (Legacy Cases Resolution ) Scheme Rules, 2020 which will pave the way for settlement of old pending VAT cases and VAT arrears.

 Golden Jubilee of Statehood Day 2021

The government has also planned celebration of  Golden  Jubilee of Statehood Day on 25th January 2021. Committees at State and district levels would be formed to celebrate  Golden  Jubilee of Statehood Day. These Committees would ensure celebrations of Golden Jubilee year of Statehood to Himachal Pradesh in a befitting manner and functions will be held from village level to State level.

Misc News/Press Release

CM Jairam Thakur Tests Positive for COVID-19, Quarantined

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HImachal Pradesh CM Tests Positive for COVID-19

Shimla-Chief Minister of Himachal Pradesh, Jairam Thakur, have tested positive for COVID-19 and has been quarantined at his official residence. The report was confirmed by the Chief Minister through a tweet in which he informed that he was under quarantine at his residence after coming into contact with a COVID-19 positive person. On the appearance of symptoms, he got himself tested and the report was found to be positive, he informed.

According to the initial report, the Chief Minister had come in contact with some COVID-19 positive persons in Manali. MLA of Banjar, Surinder Shourie, who was positive for COVID-19 had participated in the event organized on the occasion of the inauguration of Rohtang Tunnel, had also tested positive. Shourie had spent the entire day with the Chief Minister, reports said.

His private secretary had also tested positive, and there are chances that the Chief Minister might have contracted the infection from him. However, there is no certainty regarding the contact who infected the Chief Minister.

Other than Chief Minister, three Cabinet ministers – Urban Development Minister Suresh Bharadwaj, Power Minister Sukh Ram Chaudhary, Jalshakti Minister Mahender Singh- have tested positive so far.  Over ten MLAs have already tested positive and some of them have recovered too.

Meanwhile, despite community spread, the testing and tracing seem to have fallen and the fatality rate has witnessed a steep rise. Till 12 pm today, the COVID-19 death tally for the state was 245, and the total number of cases registered was 17414. But these are official statistics and these numbers are likely to be much higher. 

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Himachal: COVID-19 Kills 59 in 9 Days, Govt Still Clueless About Actual Number of Cases

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Himachal PRadesh Jairam Thakur

Shimla-COVID-19 continue to wreak havoc in Himachal Pradesh as the death tally spirals upward rapidly. Currently, 240 people have lost their lives due to COVID-19. Fifty nine of these deaths have been reported during the last nine days of October month, which is quite alarming. But contrary to that, the attitude of the state government, as well as, the public is becoming more casual. The SOPs issued by the government are hardly being followed anywhere. The fact that with the community spread, the cases of COVID-19 are falling in the official information released by the state Health Department.

On October 9, the Department traced only 199 cases but reported seven deaths. The total number of active cases was cited to be 2856. The deceased included three females and four males aged between 49 -75 years. View details of the deceased in the below-given table:

Shimla-covid-19 deaths in himachal pradesh

The total number of cases, as per the official statistics, had reached 16977 till yesterday evening (9 PM). But these are official statistics and the real number is likely to be much higher due to a community spread. Similarly, the actual number of COVID-19 deaths could be higher than the official statistics. Despite it, the state government is reluctant to release any projection regarding the real numbers. No statements have been issued regarding the current situation and strategy to combat the rising fatality rate. Rather, the state appears to be refraining from bringing up the matter.

The oppositions, HP Congress and CPI (M), are targeting the government over its failure to combat the spread of COVID-19. However, this opposition is quite feeble and hasn’t resulted in any reforms in the attitude of the government.

In a statement to media, Sanjay Chauhan, former Mayor of Shimla and a senior CPI (M) leader, said that the rise in fatalities is the result of the government’s lackadaisical attitude. The suicide committed by a positive patient at the DDU COVID-19 hospital is evidence of it, he said. He said this approach has endangered health lives of ministers, officials, and the staff at their offices. Further, he said, health staff, paramedical staff, and police staff are getting infected, and even losing lives due to the government’s unpreparedness.  The government had even compromised the safety of the Prime Minister and Education Minister by violating norms set regarding COVID-19, he said.

HP Congress chief, Kuldeep Rathor also expressed shock over the presence of COVID-19 positive MLA of Banjar, Surender Shourie, in the event organized for the PM. He alleged that by violating all norms, the MLA concealed information regarding his COVID-19 positive status and did not quarantine himself, which reflects the state government’s attitude toward management of the corona pandemic. He had demanded registration of an FIR against Shourie and action against erring officials.

Sanjay Chauhan, further said that the government did not prepare itself to combat the pandemic the way it was expected to. The people of the state had followed the lockdown and sacrificed their livelihood with a hope that the government would prepare itself during this period to combat the spread and to strengthen the health infrastructure and services. But instead, the government indulged itself in making people clap and beat ‘thalis’.  The Chief Minister adopted and preached unscientific practices like performing a ‘havan’.  Despite a steep rise in fatalities, the government is still not serious about the situation, he said. 

He said the CPI (M) demands that the government starts working on war footing to prepare a strategy by involving health experts, strengthening the health services by recruiting doctors, para-medical and other staff, and constitute a task force to deal with the situation. The government should work diligently on following the norms set for prevention from COVID-19, he added.  

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Shocker for Himachal as Ex-CBI Chief & Governor Ashwani Kumar Found Dead at His Shimla Residence

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Himachal IPS Officer Ashwani Kumar found deat in shimla

Shimla-Ashwani Kumar – 1973 IPS officer from Himachal Pradesh cadre who had served as the Director-General of HP Police (2006-2008) and CBI chief (August 2008 to November 2010), and was later appointed the Governor of Nagaland in 2013-was found dead at his residence in Shimla on Wednesday evening. The news came as a shocker as Kumar was considered as one of India’s finest and honest officers.

Superintendent of Police, Shimla, Mohit Chawala, in statement to news agencies, confirmed the report. According to the initial report, he reportedly hanged himself and ended his life. However, no formal statement was issued regarding the suicide. According to the police, a suicide note was also recovered from the spot. However, the note was yet to be verified.

Kumar was a well known name as he had dealt with famous cases including that of Arushi Talwar murder and fake encounter of Sohrabuddin Sheikh in which current Home Minister Amit Shah was arrested in 2010.

He was one of the first appointees made to resign from the post of Governor, Nagaland, as soon as the current ruling party came into power in 2014. He also remained Governor of Manipur for a short period of time. After his retirement, Kumar was serving as the Vice-Chancellor of a private university in Shimla.

The officials who have served under Aswani Kumar have expressed shock over his demise in such a manner. 

Director-General of Police, Sanjay Kundu, and a team of medical staff was rushed to the spot. More details are awaited as the district police have not issued any formal statement regarding the incident.

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