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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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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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