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HP Cabinet Decisions: Cut in Sewerage Charges, Amendment in HP GST Act 2017 Approved

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HP Cabinet Meeting July 30, 2020 Decisions

Shimla-In a meeting of Himachal Pradesh Cabinet held on July 30, 2020, the state government decided to reduce sewerage charges from 50 percent to 30 percent of the water bills being charged by the Jal Shakti Vibhag.

Approval was given to enhance the financial assistance for education upto two children of the registered beneficiaries of Himachal Pradesh Buildings and Other Construction Workers Welfare Board. Now, as per the government, the girl child and boy would get annual financial assistance of Rs. 8,000 and 5,000 respectively instead of Rs. 7,000 and Rs. 3,000 respectively from Class 1 to 8. Similarly, girl student from class 9 to 12 would get Rs. 11,000 instead of Rs. 10,000 and boys would receive financial assistance of Rs. 8,000 instead of Rs. 6,000.

For graduation, the girls would get Rs. 16,000 instead of Rs. 15,000 and boys would receive Rs. 12,000 instead of Rs. 10,000. Similarly, for post-graduation and diploma courses of one year to three years duration, the girls would get Rs. 21,000 instead of Rs. 20,000 and boys would receive Rs.17,000 instead of Rs. 15,000.

For professional courses/ degrees and Ph. D, Research Courses, the girls would get Rs. 36,000 in place of Rs. 35,000 and boys would get financial assistance of Rs. 27,000 per annum in place of Rs. 25,000. The Cabinet also decided to enhance the financial assistance from Rs. 35,000 to Rs. 51,000 for the marriage of workers and upto Rs. 51,000 each for the marriage of two children only. It also decided to disburse the third instalment of financial assistance of Rs. 2,000 to the registered beneficiaries of Himachal Pradesh Buildings and Other Construction Workers Welfare Board.

The Cabinet gave its approval to implement Mahila Shakti Kendra Scheme in Kullu, Kinnaur and Lahaul-Spiti districts and to create and fill up one post each of Women Welfare Officer and two posts each of District Coordinator in each district on outsource basis.

The Cabinet gave its approval for the constitution of State Food Commission with a purpose to monitor and review of implementation of National Food Security Act, 2013 in the state.

The Cabinet decided to simplify policy for providing ‘Compassionate Employment’ and delegation of powers to departments for disposal of cases of compassionate employment. Now, instead of Clerks, the cases will be considered to the post of Junior Office Assistant (IT).

The Cabinet gave its nod to:

  1. Fill up 30 posts of Junior Engineer (Civil), 20 posts of Junior Engineer (Mechanical) and six posts of Junior Engineer (Electrical) in Jal Shakti Vibhag on contract basis
  2. Fill up two posts of Steno-Typist on contract basis and one post of driver on daily wage basis in the office of Deputy Commissioner Kullu, besides one post of driver on daily wage basis in the office of Deputy Commissioner Chamba.
  3. To fill up two posts of Junior Office Assistant (IT) on contract basis as backlog under the quota meant for dependents of freedom fighters in Co-operation Department.

It also gave its consent to name the Horticulture and Forestry Development and Extension Institute, Thunag as College of Forestry and Horticulture Thunag alongwith creation of requisite posts to manage this college.

The Cabinet gave its consent for appointment of 18 left out staff nurses working under the National Health Mission in Rogi Kalyan Samiti on contract from the roster points in respect of which requisition of recruitment of staff nurses has already been placed by Director Health Services with Himachal Pradesh Staff Selection Commission, Hamirpur by considering these appointments from a prospective date.

On the recommendation of the GST Council of India, the Union Government has carried out amendments in certain sections of Central GST Act 2017, but due to COVID-19 pandemic, the corresponding amendments under the HP GST Act could not be issued. Now, the State Cabinet gave its approval for corresponding amendments required to be made under the HP GST Act, 2017 by way of Ordinance.

The Cabinet decided that Clause 7 of the Ordinance will substitute the Provision to sub-section (2) of Section 31 of H.P. Goods and Services Tax Act. The purpose, the government said, would be to empower the government to notify the categories of services of supplies in respect of which tax invoice would be issued and to make rules regarding the time and manner of its issuance.

Nod was given to Clause 8 of the Ordinance to amend Section 51 of H.P. Goods and Services Tax Act to empower the government to make rules to provide for the form and manner in which a certificate of tax deduction at source would be issued.  It also approved Clause 9 of the Ordinance to insert a new sub-section (1A) in Section 122 A of this Act to make the beneficiary of certain transactions at whose instance such transactions are conducted liable for a penalty.

It also gave its approval to Clause 10 of the Ordinance to amend Section 132 of this Act to make the offence of fraudulent availment of input tax credit without invoice a cognizable and non-bailable offence under Sub Section 1 of Section 69 and to make any person who retains the benefit of certain transactions and at whose instance such transactions are conducted liable for punishment.

The Cabinet also gave its approval to Clause 11 of the Ordinance to amend Section 140 of the Act relating to transitional arrangements for the input tax credit to prescribe the time limit and the manner for availing input tax credit against certain unavailed credit under the existing law. This amendment would take effect retrospectively from 1st July 2017.

It approved Clause 12 of the Ordinance to insert new Section 168 A to empower the government to issue such notifications retrospectively which could not be issued instantly in the public interest due to Covid-19 pandemic.

It also gave its approval to Clause 13 of the Ordinance to amend Section 172 of the Act to extend time limit provided for removal of difficulties there under from three years to five years with effect from the commencement of the said Act. 

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HP Statehood Day 2022: Relaxation in Electricity Charges, Third Option in New Pay scale, Higher Pay scale to Constables and other Announcements

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Shimla-Himachal Pradesh Government, on the 52nd Statehood Day, has made several announcements. It announced 31 percent DA to employees, relaxation on electricity charges up to 60 units, enhancement of annual income for availing benefit of pensions and welfare schemes.

Benefits of higher scales would be provided immediately to all those constables who were eligible for higher scales. All the constables appointed after 2015 would be eligible for higher scale as per other categories of employees, the government announced.

The State Government announced that now while implementing the new pay scale, the employees would be given a third option besides two options already given to them. The State has recently implemented new pay scales for employees of the State Government. The state government said it felt that few disparities existed in the new pay scales of few categories.

Pensioners of the State Government would also be given pension as per the new pay scales of the Punjab government, the government announced.

The government also announced 31 per cent DA to all the employees of the State at par with the Central Government employees. Also, an increase in annual income for availing the benefits of various welfare schemes and pensions for the weaker sections of the society from existing Rs 35,000 to Rs 50,000 was announced.

Now, the domestic consumers of the state whose electricity consumption is up to 60 units per month would not be charged any fee per electricity unit.  They would be incurred zero cost per unit of electricity consumed. With this decision, domestic consumers whose electricity consumption is up to 125 units, would be charged only one rupee per unit cost.  Over 11 lakh domestic consumers would be benefitted from this decision and the State government would incur an additional expenditure of Rs 60 crore on providing this relief, the government informed.

For the farmers in the state, the government announced to reduce the present per unit cost of electricity from 50 paise to 30 paise.  This benefit will be payable from April 2022.

Further, the HP Government said that in the year 1971, the per capita income of the state was only Rs 651 which has increased to Rs. 1,83,286, the GDP of the State has gone up from Rs 223 crore in 1971 to Rs 1,56,522 crore. The literacy rate of the State has gone up to 82.80 percent which was 23 percent in 1971. The agricultural production in the state has increased from 954 metric tons to 1500 metric tons and food grain production in 1971 was 9.40 lakh MT which has increased to 16.74 lakh MT, the state government said.

The state-level function of 52nd Statehood Day was celebrated at historic Thodo ground in Solan, where Chief Minister Jai Ram Thakur unfurled the Tricolor and took salute from the contingents of Police, IRB Jungalberi, Home Guards and, NCC girls etc.

The parade was commanded by DSP Pranav Chauhan.

The Chief Minister also honoured three war widows of Solan District including Dil Kumari Thapa, Savitri Devi and Nirmala Devi on this occasion. Head constable Sandeep Chandel was also felicitated by the Chief Minister who has been awarded Prime Ministers Police Medal for life-saving for the year 2018.  

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Covid Restrictions in Himachal Extended Till Jan 31st, State Reports 11 Deaths in 24 Hours

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Covid restrictions in himachal pradesh 2022

Shimla-Covid-19 restrictions in Himachal Pradesh has been extended till January 31, 2022. Currently, the state is witnessing a sharp spike in daily Covid-19 cases and deaths. Today, despite a low sampling of 7896, the State reported 1766 new cases and 11 Covid-related deaths. During the last eight days,  the State has recorded over 50 deaths due to Covid-19.

The deceased included a 2-year-old female child too. Shimla district reported the highest five deaths. The Covid death toll in the state had risen to 3927 according to the latest update. But the State did not impose any new restrictions, like on the entry of visitors and curtailing capacity of public transport. Further, during the last 24 hours, Shimla, Solan, and Kangra districts reported more than 250 cases each. 

Covid restrictions in himachal pradesh extended

 A notification in this regard was issued by the Government of Himachal Pradesh (Revenue Department – Disaster Management Cell) on Monday. 

“Taking note of the present situation of Covid-19 in the State, the restrictions announced on January 5th, 8th, 9th, and 13th will continue to remain in effect till 6 am of 31st January 2022,” the notification said.

Programs scheduled on the occasion of Himachal Pradesh Statehood Day ( 25th January) and Republic Day (26th January) would be held on the condition of 50% capacity of indoor/outdoor spaces.

The educational institutes, including ITI, polytechnic colleges, and coaching institutes, would remain closed. Online classes, however, would continue in schools.

With the ongoing surge in daily cases and deaths, more restrictions could be in stock.

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Mandi Hooch Case: Political Storm Over Arrest and Expulsion of Hamirpur Congress Leader

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Hamipur district congress neeraj thakur

Mandi-On Sunday, the Himachal Pradesh Congress Committee expelled General Secretary of the Hamirpur District Congress Committee following his arrest from Chandigarh in alleged connection with the Mandi hooch case.

It’s pertinent to mention that last week seven persons had lost their lives in two days and eight others are still hospitalized due to consumption of spurious liquor in Salapar area of Sundernagar Tehsil, Mandi district. Following this tragedy, a police SIT was formed, various places were raided, seizures of incriminating materials were made, several persons were arrested. So far, the police have arrested 13 persons in this connection and more arrests could be made as the SIT unfolds layers of people involved.

Neeraj Thakur, who was said to have risen to a political leader from a salesman at a liquor shop, had created an empire for himself allegedly from the illicit trade of spurious liquor. The worth of his properties and assets is being assessed, but the initial reports suggested his assets were disproportionate to his income. Now every political leader he was in contact with is under the scanner of the police SIT.

Also Read: Mandi Hooch Case: HP Police Claim Bursting Large-Scale Illicit Liquor Trade, Nabs Kingpin

According to Superintendent of Police, Mandi, Shalini Agnihotri, on Sunday, police detained Praveen Thakur, who is a resident of Hamirpur, two persons, identified as Sunny and Pushpender of Uttar Pradesh, AK Tripathi of Jammu and Kashmir, and Sagar Saini of Delhi. The police have claimed that it has also apprehended the kingpin.

The state Congress chief and the opposition leader Mukesh Agnihotri who had been issuing statements holding the BJP government responsible for the Mandi hooch tragedy is on backfoot following the expulsion of Neeraj. At the same time, the failure of the state Excise and Taxation Department in checking this flourishing illicit trade of spurious liquor right under its nose is also evident.

State BJP general secretary Trilok Jamwal, State BJP spokesperson Baldev Tomar and co-media-in-charge Karan Nadda on Sunday issued statements referring to the expulsion of Neeraj as evidence that the Congress leaders were involved in, as well as, patron of liquor mafia in the State.

Further, with elections to the Shimla Municipal Corporation and elections to the state Assembly later this year, this issue has turned into a political storm.  

According to the SIT investigation, the illicit liquor factory was operating in Hamirpur District and raw materials were procured from both within and outside the State. The police said that Gaurav Manhas appears to be the kingpin of the illegal trade. Gaurav, with the assistance of Praveen, Pushpender and Sunny from UP, was running this illegal bottling plant at Hamirpur building owned by Praveen.

In addition, the DGP informed, Manu and Gagan were his partners in the bottling plant busted under the jurisdiction of Police Station Nalagarh. Gaurav has a strong network of distributors and supply chains for raw materials and finished liquor.

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