Shimla-A meeting of the Cabinet, Himachal Pradesh Government, was held on May 2, 2020. The Government took several decisions including relief/support to various departments as well as the hoteliers.
Due to Covid-19 pandemic, agriculturists and horticulturists of the State have been facing huge losses. The farmers suffered huge losses as they were not able to market flowers and other exotic vegetables. Therefore, the Government had decided to compensate them to some extent. The Government said it is also endeavouring to provide all possible help to market their produce in the markets.
The tourism industry is worst affected due to this pandemic Therefore, the Government have decided to waive off electricity demand charges for six months thereby providing them relief of about Rs. 15 crore. Similarly, excise and taxation license fee would be waived off and lifting quota of bars would be on a pro-rata basis.
The government would also provide support to HPTDC by providing support to the Corporation for paying salaries of its employees. In addition to this, token tax and special road tax would be waived off for 4 months and no penalty would be imposed on owners of private vehicles on account of delay on renewal of registration and permits etc. Rs. 55 crore help would be provided to HRTC.
To support the industry, GST refunds would be made at the earliest. HPSEB Ltd. has also suffered due to less demand of the industry, thus it would be adequately compensated, it the Cabinet decided.
The Cabinet decided that to revive the economy in the State, 120 days assured employment would be provided to the urban populace under a new Mukhya Mantri Shahari Rojgar Guarantee Yojna. For this, if required, adequate training would be provided for their skill upgradation.
During this pandemic, thousands of people of the State have come back from other States having experience and expertise in various fields. They would be identified and trained accordingly to provide them employment and self-employment avenues. It was also decided that expenditure on development works would be expedited in the State. However, the unproductive and wasteful expenditure would be curtailed.
The State Government had provided Rs.2000 each to about one lakh workers registered under Building and Other Construction Workers Board and for this Rs. 20 crore had been spent. Now the Government decided to provide another Rs. 2000 each to these workers.
The Cabinet also said that the State Government would also take up the matter regarding EPFO , ESIC at appropriate level so that the same could be redressed at the earliest.
The Cabinet decided to convert the part-time Class-IV workers engaged in various departments (except the part-time water carriers in Education Department) who have completed eight years of continuous services as on 31st March 2020 and those would be completing their eight years of continuous services on 30th September 2020 as daily wagers.
Extension to Excise Policy, 2019-20 upto 31st May 2020
It also decided to give post facto approval for the extension of Excise Policy, 2019-20 upto 31st May 2020 and operation of Excise Policy 2020-21 from 1st June 2020 to 31st May 2021. The retail excise licensees would not be required to deposit any excise levies for the period liquor vends remained closed due to the COVID-19 lockdown after 22nd March 2020.
The retail excise licensees will be allowed to lift the remaining Minimum Guaranteed Quota of 2019-20 if due, against the License fee deposited before 31st March 2020 and in case the complete License Fee has not been deposited by 31st March 2020 then such excise licensees will be allowed to lift the pending quota against the deposition of the pending Excise License Fee for 2019-20 in April/May 2020 whenever the vends are opened. If any, retail excise licensee lifts Country Liquor/IMF/Beer /Wine/Cider/BIO brands over and above the pending quota due of 2019-20, Excise Licensee will lift the same against the deposition of the prescribed levies as per the Excise Policy 2019-20.
The Cabinet also gave its nod to post-facto approval of an extension of Toll Policy 2019-20 upto 31st May 2020 and operation of Toll Policy 2020-21 from 1st June 2020 to 31st May 2021. The Toll Lessees will be allowed to deposit monthly toll fees for April and May 2020 based on their actual collection of toll fees.
The Cabinet gave its consent to create and fill up one post of Professor and one post of Assistant Professor in Department of Pathology and two posts of Assistant Professors in the Department of Psychiatry in IGMC, Shimla on regular basis to facilitate the people.
The Cabinet gave its approval to grant petroleum exploration license under Open Acreage Licensing Policy-Bid Round I in favour of M/s Vedanta Limited for petroleum exploration in Bali Chowki, Chachiot, Sarkaghat and Mandi area of Mandi district and Ghumarwin area of Bilaspur district.
HP Govt Employees to Get Higher Pay Scale on Completion of Two Years of Service: CM Jairam
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.
Most Covid Restrictions to be Lifted From March 31, Mask and Hand Hygiene to Continue
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%.
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.