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New HRTC taxi running without number plate

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New HTC taxi from CTO to Chakkar Court Complex serving without a number plate. I guess,HRTC doesn’t require number plates for its taxis? Government institutions must ensure that rules and regulations are followed to set positive examples for the public.

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Opinion

HP Budget 2021-22: Key Sector Allocation in Seven Charts

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HP Budget 2021-22 simplified charts

By – Utkarsh Berwal and Vijay Kumar, both Research Scholars at the Centre for Studies in Economics and Planning, Central University of Gujarat

Chief Minister, Mr. Jai Ram Thakur, presented the Budget of Himachal Pradesh for the financial year 2021-22 on March 6, 2021. He referred to the problems created due to the COVID-19 pandemic and potential of the state to overcome it. The focus was on boosting the Service and Tourism sector and in that respect here is the breakdown of the 50,192 Crore budget in seven charts concerning key sectors.

General Services

The allocation of  the budget to the general services for the coming financial year is Rs. 18146.99 lacs, i.e., less than what was proposed last year. The general services include fiscal services, police, stationery & printing, public works, and other administrative services. Among all the departments, highest allocation of budget is provided for public works (Rs. 9274.99 lacs) and least is provided for fiscal services (Rs. 0.00 lacs). Further, capital outlay on police, stationary & printing, and other administrative services are Rs. 7230, Rs. 42, Rs. 1600 (in lacs) respectively.

General Services

 Social Services

The government proposes to spend Rs. 159052 lacs in 2021-22. As per revised estimates, the government spent Rs. 191176.63 lacs in 2020-21. Though 2021-22 budget allocation is higher compared to the actual spending (Rs. 122386.1 lacs) for the year 2019-20 but still it is less than what was proposed in the 2020-21 budget. The social services include: education, sports, art & culture; health and family welfare; water supply, sanitation, housing, and urban development; information and broadcasting; welfare of SC, ST, and OBC; social welfare and nutrition; others. Among all the departments, highest allocation is provided for water supply, sanitation, housing and urban development (Rs. 112667.01 lacs) and least is provided for information and broadcasting (Rs. 61 lacs).

HP budget 2021 for Social Welfare

Education, Sports, Art and Culture

It has been around a year since schools and colleges are closed because of COVID-19. The education sector has been shifted towards exploring the online space and due to this many individuals have lost their jobs and educational opportunities. However, instead of increasing the planned expenditure, government reduced the spending in the present year budget plan. The allocation of budget for the education, sports, arts and culture is only Rs. 28400 lacs which is even less than previous year revised estimates (Rs. 34708.37 lacs).

HP Budget 2021 for education

 Health and Family Welfare

The COVID-19 pandemic has put a serious strain on the Indian health sector and thus, it was expected by everyone in the state that the allocation for the healthcare sector would rise tremendously. However, allocated spending for healthcare was least in comparison with past budgets. The actual spending for the year 2019-20 was Rs. 22842.74 lacs while the revised estimates of the budget in 2020-21 was Rs. 32857.54 lacs. But for this year, the total amount allocated is Rs. 16304 lacs only. It was totally a surprising step taken by the government considering the present status of the health sector in the province.

HP Budget 2021 for health

Economic Services

In the previous year, budget estimates (Rs. 308780.96 lacs) and revised estimates (Rs. 320494.09 lacs) were less than the 2019-20 actuals (Rs. 340281.45). But this year there is a big jump in the budget estimates for economic services. The allocation of budget to economic services this year (2021-22) is Rs. 429934.15 lacs. The economic services include agriculture & allied services, rural development, irrigation & flood control, energy, industry & minerals, transport, and general economic services. Among all the departments, highest allocation of budget is provided for transport (Rs. 306785 lacs) and least is provided for rural development (Rs. 489 lacs).

HP Budget 2021 for economic services

 Agriculture and Allied Services

As the farmers are opposing the new agricultural law introduced by the centre, it was predicted that the allocation would rise considerably for the agriculture sector. And in that respect a huge difference has been witnessed in the budget allocation for the current year in comparison to the previous years. The government’s plan to spend Rs. 16810.64 on agriculture is a huge rise from the proposed sum of Rs. 11397.25 lacs for the financial year 2020-21. The agriculture & allied services include crop husbandry, soil & water conservation, animal husbandry, fisheries, forest & wildlife, food storage & warehousing, and co-operation. Among all the sectors, highest allocation of budget is provided for crop husbandry (Rs. 7338.05 lacs) and least is provided for co-operation (Rs. 17 lacs).

HP Budget 2021 for agriculture

Tourism

It was predicted by economic pundits that the allocation would rise for the tourism sector as this sector is the backbone of Himachal’s economy, but such an enormous increase in the budgetary allocation was quite surprising. Tourism industry of the hill state has been badly affected by the COVID-19 and to overcome this, the government has allocated Rs. 5376.01 lacs for the year 2021-22. The allocation for the specified sector is nine times more than the previous year allocation.

HP Budget 2021 for tourism

Overall, the budget amount is Rs 1061 crore more than the last budget. Also, the debt liability of the state is at an all-time high at 60,500 crores and it remains to be seen whether the gamble taken on some key sectors will pay off in these unprecedented times where a new coronavirus wave is very well on the cards. Especially concerning the increase of the allocation to the tourism sector and allotment of a very low amount for the health and education sector. Rest, only time will tell whether this was the correct move by the government.

Disclaimer: The opinions expressed in this article are those of the authors. They do not purport to reflect the opinions or views of the Himachal Watcher or its members.

 
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Opinion

Financial Abuse: The Dominant Yet Invisible Side of Domestic Abuse

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financial abuse

By – Megha Manju Promodu an independent scholar and researcher based in Kerala. She previously worked as an Editorial Assistant at Taylor and Francis, New Delhi and handled content creation for various marketing companies.

2020 was the year of the global pandemic. It was also the year that saw massive attacks on women, the rape cases alone as always topping the charts. But rape doesn’t even account to 10% of the crimes conducted against women. So, what really takes the cake in terms of crimes against women? The answer is domestic abuse! Along with it comes violence, emotional abuse, marital rape and even the lesser known but more sinister and widespread financial abuse.

So, what is financial abuse anyway?             

Never heard of it? Me neither until a year back, when in a fit of anger, a person I know threatened to withhold money from his wife for buying something not of his liking. He did not mean it seriously, but this certainly made me think of all the homes where this is an everyday reality. Researching on it made me realize more often than not we are all victims of financial abuse in some way without really realizing it. Financial abuse in simple terms can be understood as controlling a person’s ability to earn, utilise and preserve money through manipulation, coercion or brute force. Often the victim has no or little control over their own money or any money for that matter. Financial abuse can affect both partners in varying degrees but a large number of victims of financial abuse turn out to be women, at least in the Indian scenario.

Why is it more dangerous?

Financial abuse often comes as a forerunner to domestic abuse and the dangerous aspect is that it cannot be traced easily. By the time the victim realizes what is happening it is already too late leaving them shattered in debts, financial losses and years of earnings lost with no retribution. Often it starts as a helping hand in managing finances, to sharing and managing finances together, to slowly the victim losing control over their finances, and ultimately all financial decisions are taken by the abuser with no consent of the other. It may take years for a relationship to deteriorate in this manner. The gradual loss of control along with no awareness of something like financial abuse makes it harder for a woman to realize the abuse. It is even harder in a country like India where women are not even expected to work but rather appreciated if they sit at home looking after the kids and in-laws.

In India marriage is rather a system of ownership than companionship, the transfer of ownership of the woman to the husband from the father and ultimately to the son from the husband when the time comes. We have misogynist texts like the Manusmrithi to blame for the sources of these absurd ideas and quotes like “Pitah Rakshathi Koumare, Pati Rakshathi Youvanne, Puthro Rakshathi Vardaykye, Na sthree swathanthram arhati” (Father protects in teenage, the husband protects in youth and the son protects in old age, hence woman does not deserve freedom) internalize that it’s okay to abuse and even physically assault her.

Awareness concerning financial abuse?

This idea that the man owns the woman after she becomes the wife is internalised not simply by men but also by women. Which restricts women from recognising domestic abuse, marital rape and financial abuse as problems that need fixing.

With financial insecurity woman can feel helpless and have no safe place to go. Without a stable income daily expenses become a burden and even forces the victims to go back to their abusers. Households which are relatively free of physical abuse still undergoes some sort of financial abuse as part of the power dynamics. The manipulation and emotional abuse taking place makes sure that the victim has no means of escape or survival without the abuser. It is here that we see the sinister nature of financial abuse, it threatens the victim from ever even thinking of existing outside the relationship. Along with the emotional abuse that can be in belittling the victim, attacking her mental capabilities at earning wages and even resort to name calling. Financial abuse is normalised to such a degree that victims often go their entire life without realizing that they are in an abusive relationship.

How to recognize it?

There are multiple ways financial abuse plays out. To understand this one must realize that marriage is not really about being a non-existent presence who has no desires or emotions and exists simply for serving the other person but rather it’s about a mutually respected companionship. I am here referring simply to a typical patriarchal Indian household, but one must be cautious that the opposite might also be happening with many men going through financial abuse. One way to recognize this is by figuring out if money plays a major role in the arguments that ensue. Arguments in relationships are natural and to some degree even considered healthy but if more than 70% of the arguments stem from money matters then it is time for a conversation.

Some signs you might be in an abusive financial relationship:

  1. All your bank accounts, passwords and sources of income are not in your control or are being monitored by your spouse.
  2. You have no real sources of income and hence get told off as useless despite the physical work you do around the house.
  3. Your interests and likes are being constantly ignored while there is no problem spending money for the spouse’s needs.
  4. You are given the bare minimum to survive or told that “we can’t afford that” even for simple needs or necessities but money flows for anything else.
  5. Almost all the important decisions regarding money are taken by your spouse leaving you confused or at a loss to what is really happening with money in the house.
  6. Each penny given to you needs to be accountable and you even need to show bills.
  7. You are forced to leave your job, either by force or by manipulation, often using kids as an excuse.
  8. Your job is belittled either by your spouse or in-laws to the point that you end up leaving it.
  9. You feel you have no means of survival even if you want to leave your spouse as you have no idea regarding money management.
  10. You are asked to sign bank papers and other important documents without really being explained what it is.

What can you do about it?

So, if you have ever threatened your spouse by saying you will withheld from giving them money at the first sign of any resistance from them. Or if you are on the other side of the spectrum, and you are the one who pacifies every fight with a costly gift or a lavish dinner then you might need to do some thinking. Things might not need to be this extreme but if you are resorting to using money as a weapon in marriage or in any relations then there might be some inherent problems that need fixing.

Firstly, threatening to withhold money might have the opposite effect of what you intend. The partner may be silenced for now but the resentment within them towards you will only grow. They might not trust you in future as they know that you see them in monetary terms only.

Secondly, your brattish behaviour comes from the idea that you are the bread winner of the house and has the complete authority to “own” the other.   However, “ownership” was not a term agreed by both of you while signing up for the marriage. Rather the marriage or relationship was based on equal partnership and trust.

Thirdly, as a partner if your only way of reaching your spouse is by manipulating them through money then you are not much of a partner. A responsible partner should be able to have an open communication. If being in control was your only intention, then you should have just hired a maid and pay her the cash that she deserved. A wife is not a low maintenance slave/maid/nurse etc all rolled into one. She does not exist to please you. She is a person of her own who has her own desires, emotions, feelings and dreams.

Remember, good relationships are not made over a day, it takes effort and strong conviction. There should be quality time spend, earnest conversations and many divided chores to build a relationship with a strong foundation of trust and companionship. It’s not easy but it’s definitely worth it.

Lastly, though financial abuse can be a horrifying experience for the victim along with the emotional abuse and domestic violence that accompanies it. It still can be tackled and the single most effective way to cope with this is to be economically independent and learn money management. It might be hard but not impossible and acknowledgement is the first step towards it.

Disclaimer: The opinions expressed in this article are those of the authors. They do not purport to reflect the opinions or views of the Himachal Watcher or its members.

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Misc News/Press Release

Fresh Snowfall in Shimla, Lahaual-Spiti, Kullu, Met Predicts More Rain/Snow till March 12

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Weather update himachal pradesh

Shimla-Shimla district’s Sidhpur area today morning received a fresh spell of snow, causing a drop in temperature. Other parts of the district were receiving rain since yesterday night. Earlier on Saturday, Lahaul-Spiti and higher hills of Kullu district had also received a spell of snowfall. The National Highway 305 was closed for traffic except for 4×4 vehicles.

Several other regions of the state reported intermittent rains.

The Himachal Pradesh Meteorological Department has predicted rain with thunderstorms in plains from 7th March to 12th March except on 8th and 9th March.

For Middle and Higher hills, the met has predicted rain/snow from 7th to 12th March. A yellow alert has been issued for 7th March in plains with a prediction of rain and thunderstorm, while an orange alert was issued for middle and higher hills with a prediction of heavy rain/snow at most places.

Similarly, a yellow alert has been issued for plains and middle hills for 10th and 11th March with a prediction of Thunderstorm, lightning and hailstorm at isolated places.

Himachal Pradesh Weather Prediction for march 2021

Plains or lower hills, which had begun to experience heat ahead of the change of season, have received a respite. Moreover, a rain deficient state is in dire need of a good spell of rain to ensure the survival of crops.

As defined by the Met department, low hills/plains cover Una, Bilaspur, Hamirpur, Parts of District of Kangra (Nurpur, Jwala and Dehra), Solan (Nalagarh, Baddi, Arki and Kunihar), and Sirmaur (Nahan and Ponta Sahib.

Middle hills cover Shimla, mandi, Kullu, some parts of Chamba (Sihunta, Chowari and Chamba), and most parts of Solan and Sirmaur district.

Lahaul-Spiti, Kinnaur, Chamba, Upper parts of Kullu and Mandi falls in the higher hills.

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