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HP Planning Board Claims “Remarkable Growth” in Education, Health, Horticulture, Social Services in 2018-19

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HP Planning Board Budget 2020-21

Shimla-The Himachal Pradesh State Planning Board has approved Rs. 7900 crore annual plan for the year 2020-21, which is Rs.800 crore more than 2019-20 with about 11 percent increase, the Chief Minister Jai Ram Thakur informed while presiding over the meeting of State Planning Board held on February 17, 2020. The Board has made huge claims of growth in various sectors. 

While it is not visible at the ground level, the Vice-Chairman, State Planning Board Ramesh Dhawala made a claim that the state has achieved remarkable growth in the field of education, health, horticulture and social services sectors. He said that the state economy has achieved a growth rate of 7.3 percent in the financial year 2018-19.

Further, the Chief Minister said that social services sector has been accorded priority by allocating Rs. 3487.24 crore, which was 44.14 percent of the total annual plan.

He said that the transport and communication sector has been allocated Rs. 1394.89 crore, whereas agriculture and allied activities had been allotted Rs. 974.29 crore.

Similarly, irrigation and flood control has been proposed Rs. 508.05 crore, while Rs. 499.05 crore has been earmarked for the energy sector.

Chief Minister claimed that the state has made marked progress in the field of education. He expressed concern over the gap between the male and female literacy rate.

Jai Ram Thakur said that the life expectancy rate of the state was better than the national average, which speaks of better health services being provided to people of the State. He said that the low productivity rate was also an area of concern.

He said that the per capita income of the state was better than the national average and most of the other states, which was Rs. 1,76,968 in 2018-19 and had shown an increase of 10.12 percent from 2017-18. He said that Himachal Pradesh was the second state after Sikkim to achieve the target of ODF. 

Misc News/Press Release

All Activities, Religious Places, Shopping Malls, Restaurants Outside Containment Zones to Re-Open from June 8

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New MHA Guidelines for lockdown from June 1, 2020

New Delhi- Union Ministry of Home Affairs (MHA) issued new guidelines to fight COVID-19 and for phased re-opening of areas outside the Containment Zones, today.  The guidelines would come into effect from June 1, 2020, and would be effective till June 30, 2020.  The current phase of re-opening, Unlock 1, will have an economic focus. The new guidelines have been issued based on extensive consultations held with States and UTs. 

A strict lockdown was imposed throughout the country since March 24, 2020.  All activities were prohibited except for essential activities. Subsequently, in a graded manner and keeping the overarching objective of containing the spread of COVID-19 in view, the lockdown measures have been relaxed.

Note: The below given notification issued by the MHA has been published with no or little editing by Himachal Watcher 

Salient features of the new guidelines

Lockdown measures would continue to be implemented strictly in the containment zones. These will be demarcated by the State/ UT Governments, after taking into consideration the guidelines issued by the Health Ministry. Within the containment zones, strict perimeter control shall be maintained and only essential activities allowed. 

All activities that were prohibited earlier would be opened up in areas outside Containment Zones in a phased manner, with the stipulation of following Standard Operating Procedures (SOPs), to be prescribed by the Health Ministry:

 

Phase I (permitted to open from June 8, 2020)

  • Religious places and places of worship for the public;
  • Hotels, restaurants and other hospitality services; and
  • Shopping malls. 

Health Ministry would issue SOPs for the above activities, in consultation with the Central Ministries/ Departments concerned and other stakeholders, for ensuring social distancing and to contain the spread of COVID-19.

Phase II

Schools, colleges, educational/ training/ coaching institutions etc., will be opened after consultations with States and UTs.  State Governments/ UT administrations are being advised to hold consultations at the institution level with parents and other stakeholders.  Based on the feedback, a decision on the re-opening of these institutions will be taken in July 2020.  MoHFW will prepare SOP for these institutions. 

A limited number of activities to remain prohibited throughout the country

  • International air travel of passengers;
  • Operation of Metro Rail; 
  • Cinema halls, gymnasiums, swimming pools, entertainment parks, theatres, bars and auditoriums, assembly halls and similar places; and,
  • Social/ political/ sports/ entertainment/ academic/ cultural/ religious functions/ and other large congregations. 
  • Dates for the opening of the above activities would be decided in Phase III, based on an assessment of the situation. 

Unrestricted Movement of Persons and Goods

  • No restriction on inter-State and intra-State movement of persons and goods.  No separate permission/ approval/ e-permit would be required for such movements.
  • However, if a State/ UT, based on reasons of public health and its assessment of the situation, proposes to regulate the movement of persons, it would give wide publicity in advance regarding the restrictions to be placed on such movement, and the related procedures to be followed. 

Night curfew would continue to remain in force, on the movement of individuals, for all non-essential activities.  However, the revised timings of the curfew will be from 9 pm to 5 am. 

National Directives for COVID-19 management would continue to be followed throughout the country, to ensure social distancing.    

States to decide on activities outside Containment Zones

States and UTs, based on their assessment of the situation, may prohibit certain activities outside the Containment zones or impose such restrictions, as deemed necessary. 

Protection for vulnerable persons

Vulnerable persons, i.e., persons above 65 years of age, persons with co-morbidities, pregnant women, and children below the age of 10 years, are advised to stay at home, except for meeting essential requirements and for health purposes.

Use of Aarogya Setu

The Aarogya Setu mobile application is a powerful tool built by Government of India to facilitate quick identification of persons infected by COVID-19, or at risk of being infected, thus acting as a shield for individuals and the community.  To ensure safety, various authorities are advised to encourage the use of the application.

Click to Read Complete Notification Issued by MHA on May 30, 2020

 

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Misc News/Press Release

Bus Services in Himachal Resumed, Read All Directions for Passengers, Staff, Management

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Himachal Pradesh bus Service from june 1

Shimla– The Department of Transport, Himachal Pradesh, has issued notification confirming nod to restoring public transport within the State from June 1, 2020. The transport services would be allowed only between 7:00 AM to 7:00 PM. The buses are allowed to ply with a maximum of 60 per cent seating capacity to maintain social distancing. The District Magistrate and Superintendent of Police have been directed to provide adequate police force for crowd management

General directions have been issued for the staff and passengers.

GENERAL CONDITIONS: –

  1. The District Magistrate and Superintendent of Police shall provide adequate police force for crowd management and law & order maintenance at all bus stands.
  2. All Stage Carriage buses (except AC buses) shall operate on their respective routes.
  3. To maintain social distancing and avoid overcrowding in above-said buses, the occupancy shall be maintained at no more than 60%.
  4. All passengers shall wear masks from the time of boarding till alighting from the bus.
  5. Driver, conductor and passengers should undergo self-monitoring for flu-like symptoms and in case any symptom appears, then she/ he shall report the same to the nearest health institutions.
  6. The buses shall be sanitized completely in the late evening hours or early morning before plying on their routes. The critical areas/touch points in the bus must be sanitized, periodically during the day.
  7. All safety protocols of the Health Department shall be followed by driver, conductor and passengers.
  8. No standing passengers shall be allowed in the buses during the journey.
  9. No e-pass shall be required for inter and intra district movement. However, for inter-state journey passengers must have e-pass issued by the District Magistrate.
  10. The Gram Panchayat/Municipal Committee shall render all possible assistance to the private operators and HRTC for boarding and lodging arrangement as and when demanded.

PROTOCOL FOR BUS STAND, BUSES AND STAFF: –

(a) At Bus Stand

  1. The entry/exit points shall be managed jointly by the team of District Administration, Health and Police department to ensure health check-up, screening and maintenance of Law & Order.
  1. Aarogya Setu App status would be checked preferably (for compatible device only) to ensure that passenger is free of COVID-19 symptoms. Passenger with “Red” status in AarogyaSetu App would not be permitted to travel.
  2. Only passenger(s) shall be allowed to enter the bus stand through single-entry point.
  3. Every toilet shall be sanitized and must have soap dispenser.
  4. HRTC shall ensure availability of masks, hand sanitizers at bus stands and their price shall  all be regulated the Regional Manager
  1. Bus Stand Management and Development Authority shall ensure adequate signages to guide the passengers.
  2. Public announcement system at bus shall regularly disseminate information about the precautions to be followed during travel.
  3. Physical distance of at least one meter shall be ensured while boarding and de-boarding.
  4. Proper queue system should be followed during boarding and at the ticket counter.
  5. Anyone moving inside the bus stand shall mandatorily wear the face cover.
  6. Adequate bins shall be placed for disposal of used material like etc. All such waste to be handled and disposed of as per the prescribed procedures.
  7. HRTC shall ensure that person sitting at cash counters be provided with adequate safety protective gears like gloves, masks, face cover, face shields, hand sanitizers etc.

 

(b). Inside the bus (passenger protocol)

  1. All passengers shall wear mask/face cover throughout the journey and ensure that co-passenger shall also wear masks.
  2. Passengers must use hand sanitizers regularly during their journey for their safety.
  3. It shall be ensured that only 60% of seats are occupied and seats marked as “Not to be used” are left vacant.
  4. Avoid unnecessary touching of common contact points.
  5. Avoid travelling in case of any illness. In case of emergency and illness, inform to the conductor for maintaining physical distancing during the journey.
  6. In case of any symptoms of illness of co-passenger, the information shall be provided to crew members of the bus.

 

(c). Bus protocol

  1. Boarding and de-boarding in the bus shall be from the rear and front door respectively. 
  2. A sticker shall be pasted on seats marked as “Not to be used”. 
  3. Every alternate seat shall be left unoccupied i.e. in case of three seats, middle seats, shall be left unoccupied and in case of two seats, only window seat shall be occupied. 
  4. While issuing the tickets, the conductor shall avoid physical contact with the passengers and maintain proper physical distance.
  5. Passenger must assist the driver/conductor to maintain 60% occupancy. 
  6. Proper ventilation must be maintained during the journey by opening the window glasses. 
  7. Buses shall be stopped for boarding and de-boarding on the designated bus stands/stops only. 
  8. Stage Carriage buses can pass through containment zones, however, boarding and de-boarding of passenger(s) shall be strictly prohibited within containment zones.
  9. Regional Manager, HRTC shall ensure that the proper hygiene and cleanliness is maintained at authorized Dhabas for passenger’s safety, which are to be notified by the District Magistrate.

(d) Conductor

  1. He shall wear mask/face cover, gloves and face shield throughout the journey.
  2. While issuing tickets, he/she shall ensure physical distancing from the passengers.
  3. He shall not allow passenger(s) to be seated on the seat marked as “Not to be used”. 
  4. He shall educate passenger(s) about the protocol to be followed during the journey and ensure that all safety precautions are adhered to by the all concerned. 
  5. He shall ensure proper ventilation in the bus.

(e) Driver

  1. HRTC/Private operators shall ensure proper segregation of a separate cabin for the driver.  He shall ensure minimum contact with the passengers and the public.
  2. He shall use protective gears like masks/face cover hand sanitizers etc.

 

(f) Way Side Amenities protocol

1, Proper sanitization and cleanliness must be ensured in the dining area, kitchen and toilets at Dhabas/restaurants.

2. Every Dhaba/restaurant must have sanitised for public use.

3. Soap dispenser must be available in the toilet and each washbasin.

4.Seating arrangement in the dining area must be such that proper physical distancing be maintained.

Any violation of these orders will be subject to prosecution under relevant provisions of the National Disaster Management Act 2005, the Motor Vehicle Act 1988 and such other laws as may apply.

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Misc News/Press Release

Vacation in Himachal’s Private and Govt Schools Extended Till June 15

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Himachal Pradesh schools to remain closed till june 15

Shimla– Government and private schools in Himachal Pradesh would remain closed till June 15 as vacations have been extended by the Department of Higher Education. A notification regarding the same has been issued on May 30. During the said period, no online classes would be conducted. Teaching and non-teaching staff will also remain on vacation.

The decision regarding the opening of colleges and universities would be taken before June 10.

Further, the Department is yet to get an exit plan for schools approved from the Cabinet. The prepared plan suggests that schools with a lesser number of students could be opened initially. Classes from class XI to XII could be conducted in shifts or on alternate days to ensure social distancing. There is no word on opening primary schools yet.

The State Education Board would conduct remaining one exam of Geography for Class XII on June 8 in over 200 centres.

However, nothing has been confirmed officially yet, and the government is likely to wait for more favorable conditions before educational institutes could be opened. Moreover, as the schools were converted into quarantine centres, they would require extensive sensitization before opening for students.  

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