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Read Eight Reliefs That Himachal’s Devastated Tourism Industry Seeks from HP Govt  



hp govt reliefs to hotel industry

Shimla-Restrictions on entry of tourist to Himachal Pradesh might have been lifted by the state government, but the peak season is almost over with the arrival of the monsoon. This year, the monsoon has arrived sooner than it used to reach the state. Approximately Rs 17,00 crore tourism industry of Himachal stands devastated due to Covid-related restrictions on the movement of people.

The industry gets 70% of its business during the peak tourist season, which is May and June months. The season lasts a little longer in case of delayed arrival of monsoon. Unfortunately, the industry has lost two peak seasons in a row.

This has resulted in mass unemployment in all tourism associated sectors and huge losses to businesses, especially hotel businesses. The state government doesn’t seem to be much interested in assessing the exact scale of the loss and unemployment caused during the 2020-21 period. At least, this is what the hoteliers and various stakeholders in the tourism sector of Himachal suggest. The hoteliers say they haven’t received any significant relief from the government.

The hoteliers, who had been approaching the government time and again in hope of some relief, are disappointed with the state government. Hoteliers are faulting on paying EMIs of their bank loans. Last year, most availed moratorium and restructured their loan EMIs. But this year, they are receiving notices from Banks warning them that their loans would be declared NPAs by the end of this year if they failed to repay the loans. Hoteliers have even started putting hotels on sale after warning of the third wave of the pandemic. They had not imagined that the pandemic would continue for this long, but now they are certain that it could take several years before things get back to normal.  

Reeling under fear of survival, the Hotel and Restaurant Association of Northern India (HRANI) approached Chief Minister Jairam Thakur a couple of days ago with their grievances.

Earlier, in May, the Tourism Industry Stake Holders Association had written a letter to Chief Minister Jai Ram Thakur seeking financial aid from the state government to save the industry amid COVID-19 resurgence. The Association had also highlighted the shared plight of hotels and restaurants falling in debt and failing to provide for the expenses.

Also Read: Himachal’s Distressed Tourism Industry Stakeholders Write to CM Jairam Thakur, Seeks Financial Package

“The impact of COVID-19 on the hospitality industry has been extremely disruptive. Among all the core sectors of the economy, hospitality was the first one to fall and is going to be the last to recover, hence becoming the biggest causality of the pandemic,” the  HRANI said.

“The industry had lost all its business after the lockdown came into effect and the zero-business scenario remained for 7 -10 months during last year,” the Association told the Chief Minister.

The Association also pointed out that to mitigate the impact of COVID-19 and reduce financial burden, the Government of Gujarat has granted a complete waiver of Property tax for  the 2021 – 22 financial year and also waived off fixed charges levied on electricity bills for hotels, restaurant, resorts and water Parks. The consumers only have to pay power bills for the actual usage.

“Today, hospitality has become the most unviable and unsustainable business in the country and is heading towards the closure of thousands of establishments in many parts of the country and massive job losses,” the HRANI said.

It said that given the circumstances, hoteliers are expecting strong support from the HP government. It sought following relief for the survival and revival of hospitality units:

  1. Refund / Adjustment Excise Fees:  Due to lock down measures and non-operations of bars from March 22, 2020, to September 4, 2020, the excise fee paid by licensee Bars, Hotels and Restaurants for the non-operations period should be either refunded or adjusted. Due to curfew/lockdown measures, none of the excise Licenses (Hotels and Restaurant) in the state has been permitted to operate since the beginning of this financial year till date which has brought the hospitality sector to its knees. Under such circumstances, the hospitality sector can’t stay afloat. The excise fee should be waived off for the next six months. In case of advance payment of the fees, it should either be refunded or adjusted.
  2. Power:  The contracted capacity of power Consumption was not used by the hotels. But the Fixed Charges at the applicable rate have been billed to them based on the contracted Billing Demand which included the non-operations period. Therefore, keeping in view the closure of hospitality establishments, hoteliers requested a complete waiver of fixed charges.
  3. Property Tax / House Tax: Relief from property tax/house tax by extending a waiver for hotels and hospitality establishments for a suitable period during the current financial year.
  4. Increase of limit of 25 guests for social functions for Spacious Premises: The hospitality establishments largely depend upon banqueting as it majorly contributes to meet operational expenses. It is a key source of revenue and is also taken into account while calculating the operating cost of hospitality units. Therefore, following the protocol of social distancing, the limit of 25 guests for social functions should be increased in accordance with the capacity of the hall and open space to cater to guest. The Banquets, Premises and halls having larger space should be allowed to host social functions and gatherings with 50% capacity without any further local permission, provided the protocol of social distancing is maintained.
  5. A waiver on water bills and sewerage charges: The water bill and sewerage charges by Jal Board should be waived off for the next six months due to lockdown and non-operations of hospitality units. Since last year there is hardly any occupancy/guests due to travel restrictions & and uarantine guidelines.
  6. Automatic extensions/onetime special renewals: Automatic extension /onetime special renewal of Certificates for one year from all departments such as FIRE NOC, Municipal License Renewals Certificate of Weight and Measurement from Legal Metrology Department; Certificate for lift Operations; Shops & Establishment Certificate &Consent to Operate by Pollution Control Committee.  Given restrictions & the challenges of this worst-hit industry, the hoteliers requested to permit onetime special renewal or automatic extension of all approvals & licenses to be valid till March 31, 2022.
  7. Relief from penal provisions for delays in dues: No penalty or interest to be levied on payment of any dues owed to the State government or local Government or other State bodies for a suitable period.
  8. Relief from regulatory compliances:  Relief from regulatory compliances under State Laws or Central Laws being implemented by the States including Byelaws. Municipal Byelaws, Rules and Regulations by extending the validity of various licenses and approvals without levy of any fees till March 31, 2022.

About Hotel and Restaurant Association of Northern India (HRANI)

Hotel and Restaurant Association of Northern India (HRANI) – a Northern outfit of the Federation of Hotel & Restaurant Associations of India is the apex body and voice of the Hospitality industry of Northern India, representing Hotels, Restaurants and Allied sector of the ten North Indian States & Union Territories. The Association was formed in these northern states and Union Territories are Delhi, Haryana, Punjab, Rajasthan, Chandigarh, Himachal Pradesh, Jammu & Kashmir, Ladakh, Uttar Pradesh and Uttarakhand.



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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