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MP Ramswaroop, His Staff Neither Tested Nor Quarantined Before Entering Himachal, Didn’t Cite Emergency: Chauhan



MP Ramswaroop sharma violates lockdown and curfew

Shimla-Entry of Ramswaroop Sharma, Member of Parliament, alongwith his staff into Himachal Pradesh, amid nationwide lockdown and state-wide curfew, has raised eyebrows of not only opposition parties but also of the people. Questions are being asked from the State Government and the Police Department over bending of rules and regulations for VIPs. Demand is being made to file FIR against the MP for not following lockdown guidelines which permits interstate movement only in cases of emergencies.

The MP, who was in Delhi at the time of the end of the Lok Sabha Session and announcement of the lockdown, returned to Jogindernagar, Mandi district, on April 10. Most parts of Delhi has been declared COVID-19 hot-spots, and despite that, the MP decided to travel to Himachal.

In his defense, the MP said he had obtained all required permissions from administration in Delhi as well as in Mandi district. He also said that he has self-quarantined himself alongwith the staff that traveled with him. The Director-General of Police, Sita Ram Mardi, has clarified that the MP has not violated any rules and had obtained required permissions, therefore, no FIR can be lodged against him.

The Superintendent of Police, Mandi, Gurudev Chand Sharma, also termed his movement legitimate.

However, the MP or the Police did not cite the emergency that made the MP and his staff eligible for permission to travel from a hot-spot State to Himachal. The only reason that the MP gave is that it is his duty to be among his people in a time of need.

Reacting to the MP’s this response, Sanjay Chauhan, former Mayor of Shimla, took a jibe asking as to why the MP did not return to the State soon after the end of the session and stayed in Delhi till April 10.

Chauhan has also raised another point which has not been answered yet. According to the lockdown guidelines, every person entering the State must be tested and quarantined, but the MP and his staff were exempted from it, he said. Rapid testing kits are available in the State, therefore, testing shouldn’t have been a problem. He also pointed out that the DGP has been making a regular appeal to obey the lockdown guidelines along with warnings of action against those entering into the State without testing and mandatory quarantine. But no action is being taken against the MP for violating the same guidelines, he said.

In fact, the State Government has directed the district officials to test all persons with permits in the boarder areas for COVID-19 and allow only those who are found negative. But, as per the Chauhan’s allegations, the MP and his staff was exempted from this rule. 

Further, Chauhan has alleged that there were irregularities in the permit issued by the District Magistrate, Mandi, to the MP. He targeted the Government alleging that such permits have been issued to other BJP affiliated persons, and has asked the Government to make details of all such persons public.

He termed it discrimination to deny permission to thousands of other Himachali’s stuck outside the State to return due to lockdown but allow a VIP to enter the State even when there is no emergency.

Chauhan has demanded that same legal action which is being taken against others who defied the lockdown and entered the State should be initiated against the MP and his staff. All officials who facilitated his entry into the State should be held responsible for this carelessness amid a pandemic.


HP Govt Employees to Get Higher Pay Scale on Completion of Two Years of Service: CM Jairam



hp govt employess higher pay scale

Shimla-Himachal Pradesh Government employees working in different departments before January 3, 2022, would be given a higher scale at par with other employees on completion of two years tenure of regular service. A higher pay scale was also announced for the Junior Office Assistants (IT) on completion of two years of regular service.

Chief Minister Jairam Thakur made these announcements during the Karamchari Maha Sammelan of the Himachal Pradesh Non-Gazetted Employees Federation at the hotel Peterhof on Sunday.

He appreciated the role played by the employee especially frontline workers in the battle against the pandemic.

He said most of the government employees in the state have been given revised pay scales and on average, every employee has got the benefit of a 12 to 15 percent salary hike. There has also been an increase in the pension of about 1.50 lakh pensioners of the state. The financial benefits of Rs. 7801 crore have been given to state government employees and pensioners from the year 2018 to 2022. The pensioners who retired before 2016 are getting the benefit of a 15 to 20 percent increase in the pension while around 40 thousand pensioners who retired after 2016 would be benefitted soon, he said.

He said the daily wages were Rs. 210 in the year 2017 which has been increased by the present state government to Rs. 350. Similarly, 12 per cent interim relief annually has been provided to government employees and pensioners during the present government’s tenure. He said the Himachal government has provided Dearness Allowance to its employees and pensioners on the lines of Punjab and Central governments from the due date. The Punjab government has given only 5 percent interim relief to the employees while the Himachal government has provided 21 percent interim relief to its employees.

“Out of the total interim relief amount given to the employees and pensioners amounting to about Rs. 6500 crore, Rs. 3500 crore has been paid during the tenure of our government” added the Chief Minister.

He said that the state government has increased the government contribution for NPS employees from 10 percent to 14 percent benefitting more than one lakh employees. The NPS employees are being given the benefits of retirement and death gratuity at par with employees falling under the old pension scheme. The government has also increased the upper limit of death gratuity from Rs. 10 lakh to Rs. 20 lakh.

The Chief Minister said the state government has also increased the honorarium of para-workers working in various departments. The salary of outsource workers has been hiked by Rs 1,500 per month.

Non-Gazetted Employees Federation President Ashwani Thakur thanked the Chief Minister for providing various financial and other benefits to different categories of government employees.

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Most Covid Restrictions to be Lifted From March 31, Mask and Hand Hygiene to Continue



all caovid restriction lifted in himachal pradesh

New Delhi-The Centre has issued a notification to the States informing that the provisions of the Disaster Management (DM) Act, 2005 will not be invoked in the country after March 31. The Union Health Ministry said that the use of face masks and following hand hygiene will continue.

It implies that most of the Covid-related rules and restrictions would end.

Union Home Secretary Ajay Bhalla issued the notification which said that the decision was taken following the overall improvement in the situation and the preparedness of the government in dealing with the COVID-19 pandemic.

However, local authorities and State police can still invoke fines and criminal cases against persons violating COVID-19 norms under the Indian Penal Code (IPC), a senior government official said.

The DM Act was invoked on March 24, 2020, due to the pandemic

“Over the last seven weeks or so there has been a steep decline in the number of cases. The total caseload in the country stands at 23,913 only and the daily positivity rate has declined to 0.28%. It is also worth mentioning that with the combined efforts, a total of 181.56 Cr vaccine doses have been administered,” the notification said.

“I would like to mention that in view of the nature of the disease, we still need to remain watchful of the situation. Wherever any surge in the number of cases is observed, the States/UTs may consider taking prompt and proactive action at a local level, as advised by MoHFW (Health Ministry) from time to time,” the notification said.

The Indian government had issued various guidelines and measures for the first time on March 24, 2020, under the Disaster Management Act to curb the COVID-19 situation in the country, which have been modified several times thereafter.

India currently has 23,087 active COVID-19 cases and recorded 1,778 new cases and 62 deaths in the last 24 hours. The daily positivity rate has also declined to 0.28%.

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HP Cabinet Decisions: Country Liquor Made Cheaper in New Excise Policy, Read All Decisions




Shimla-A meeting of the Himachal Pradesh Cabinet was held on March 20, 2022, under the chairmanship of Chief Minister Jai Ram Thakur.

The excise policy for the financial year 2022-23 was approved. Approval was also given for the renewal of retail excise vends in the state for the financial year 2022-23 at the renewal fees of 4% of the value of unit/vend.

The State Government said that wants to enhance the government revenue and curb the smuggling of country liquor from the neighbouring states by a reduction in its price.

The brands of Country Liquor will be cheaper as license fees have been reduced. This will help in providing good quality liquor at a cheaper rate to the consumers.

In the new excise policy, the 15% fixed quota of country liquor for manufacturers and bottlers to be supplied to the retail licensees has been abolished. According to the government, this step will give the retail licensees to lift their quota from the suppliers of their choice and further assure the supply of good quality country liquor at competitive prices. The MRP of country liquor will be cheaper by 16% of the existing price.

In this year’s policy, the Gaudhan Vikas Nidhi Fund has been enhanced by Re.1/- from the existing Rs.1.50 to Rs.2.50.

The fixed annual license fee of Bars has been rationalized by abolishing the area-specific slabs of license fee. Now throughout the State, there will be uniform license slabs based upon the room capacity in hotels.

Rates of the annual fixed license fee of Bars in the tribal areas has been reduced considerably.

Further, all the above stakeholders will have to install CCTV cameras at their establishments as it was made mandatory for them.

Wholesale vends and retail vends, the penalty provisions under the H.P. Excise Act, 2011 have been made more stringent.

An end to end online Excise Administration System would be established in Himachal Pradesh, the government said.

HP Government estimates a collection of Rs 2131 crore revenue during the year, which will be Rs. 264 crores higher than the financial year 2021-22 – growth of 14% in state excise revenues.

The Cabinet also gave its nod to amend Himachal Pradesh Disaster Relief Manual-2012 to include deaths due to biting of honey bees, hornet and wasps, accidental drowning and deaths due to accidents of vehicles (including land, water and air) under this Manual.

The Cabinet gave its approval for filling up 11 posts of ‘A’ Class Tehsildar in Revenue Department through direct recruitment on regular basis through Himachal Pradesh Public Service Commission.

HP State Toll Policy 2022-23

The HP Cabinet also gave its nod to HP State Toll Policy for the year 2022-23 which envisages auction cum tender for all the toll barriers in the State. During the year 2021-22, toll revenue has registered a growth of 20 percent of the previous year’s revenue.

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