Shimla-Chief Minister Jairam Thakur recently faced backlash for patting his own back by launching and promoting a Pahari (Western Pahari) video song which, he claimed, highlighted his welfare schemes.
The song titled ‘Mhara Shobhla Maanu Jai Ram Thakur’, produced by Mahadev studio and sung by Pahari singer Naresh Bhardwaj was released on July 3, 2021, by the Chief Minister on various platforms – Youtube, Wynk Music, Saavan, Spotify, Gaana.com etc.
On YouTube, the video song garnered two times more dislikes than likes. At the time of writing this report, 663 people had liked the video, while over 1200 disliked it. The comments section flooded with hundreds of critical comments including “This song is made for dislikes”.
Chief Minister also posted the song on his personal and official Twitter handles, receiving the same reaction. Students, particularly, flooded the comments section on YouTube and Twitter. The comments showcased that students were trying to unitedly express their anguish through this as, they alleged, the Chief Minister wasn’t paying any heed to their problems and safety amid the pandemic.
आज हमने लोकगायक श्री नरेश भारद्वाज एवं महादेव स्टूडियो द्वारा बनाए गए वीडियो गीत ‘‘म्हारा शोभला माणूं जयराम ठाकुर’’ का शुभारंभ किया।
इस गीत के माध्यम से प्रदेश की संस्कृति, जनकल्याणकारी योजनाओं और विकास कार्यों को दर्शाया गया है।
महादेव स्टूडियो की पूरी टीम को हार्दिक बधाई। pic.twitter.com/9lIJx3QdHM
— Jairam Thakur (@jairamthakurbjp) July 3, 2021
At the same time, it is pertinent to mention that the National Student Union of India (NSUI), HPU unit, is on a chain hunger strike over its demand to vaccinate all students and staff before opening the varsity and conducting the exams online, the same way they had been attending online classes. Student Federation of India (SFI) had also put forth a demand to vaccinate students and staff members and also suggested to set-up a dedicated vaccination centre on the varsity campus. There are a plethora of other student grievances, including their pending results of previous examinations and demand to conduct entrance exams for admission this year.
Coming back to the video, Chief Minister, while releasing the song said it would help in the promotion of Pahari culture and welfare schemes.
“The song would help in promotion and conservation of Pahari culture and tradition of the State. The artists have meticulously highlighted various schemes launched by the government for the welfare of the people of the State, Chief Minister said.
However, the first half of the song ” Mhara Shobhla Maanu Jai Ram Thakur” – which translates to “Our kind-hearted man Jairam Thakur”- narrates and celebrates the personal and political life of Jairam Thakur. Towards the end, the singer mentions about a couple of government schemes.
Secondly, the statement of Jairam Thakur about the promotion and conservation of Pahari culture is contrary to the actions of his government, as nothing significant has been done in this respect ever since he took over. No steps were taken for the promotion and conservation of the Western Pahari language which is by far the most significant and important part of the Pahari culture in Himachal Pradesh.
The dialects of the language group are spoken by the majority of people of the state according to the 2011 Census. For decades, there has also been a demand to get the language recognized under the 8th schedule of the Indian constitution and successive state governments over the years had mooted for this. BJP’s Prem Kumar Dhumal, during his tenure as CM in 2010, had also proposed a resolution in the Vidhan Sabha for getting the Pahari language recognized which was unanimously passed by the house.
Many groups for decades have demanded the recognition of the language and proposed to make it the second official language of the state. But come 2019, CM Jairam Thakur’s government laid a bill in the Vidhan Sabha to accord Sanskrit the status of the second language of Himachal Pradesh which was passed then, and in July 2020 the move became official. In the run-up to this decision, CM Jairam had given various statements in favour of Sanskrit, one being that his government was committed to popularize the Sanskrit language and that Sanskrit was a true symbol of the great Indian tradition and thought.
Hence, only time will tell why such a change in stance was taken by the RSS backed CM, as this transformation from supporting the great Indian mainland culture to now backing local Pahari culture has been very drastic. Also, whether this pro-Pahari pitch would reflect in the government policy moving forward or will just end up turning into an election gimmick still awaits to be seen.
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.