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Epaper Monday, March 04, 2024


Committed for Vyvastha Parivartan– Sukh ki Sarkar

April 14, 2023 04:23 PM

I extend my best wishes on 76th Himachal Day. After eight months of India's independence, this beautiful hilly state came into existence in the form of the centrally administered Chief Commissioner's Province on 15 April, 1948 with the merger of 30 small and big hilly princely states.


The credit for establishing Himachal Pradesh as a state goes to the then leadership as well as the protagonists and activists of the Praja Mandal movement besides the people of the State. Dhami Golikand, Suket Satyagraha, Pajhauta Movement have a special significance in the glorious history of Himachal Pradesh.


On this auspicious occasion, I express my gratitude to Dr. Yashwant Singh Parmar, the founder of Himachal Pradesh and the first Chief Minister of the State and all those great personalities, who worked diligently to get special recognition and status for this State.
Himachal Pradesh is also known as Veer Bhoomi. On this occasion, I pay my tribute to all the valiant soldiers of the State, who have made sacrifices for the country. I also express my gratitude to the hardworking and honest people of the State, who have brought laurels to the state besides providing a special recognition in the country and abroad.


Our government was given the responsibility of serving the people of the State on 11th December, 2022 and a new era of public welfare and Vyvastha Parivartan commenced in the State. After taking the oath as the Chief Minister, I visited the Balika Ashram Tutikandi, before assuming office at the Secretariat. I interacted with the children there. They didn't demand anything but I was able to observe their determination to do something despite all odds. The state government decided to set-up Mukhya Mantri Sukh-Ashray Kosh with an initial provision of Rs. 101 crore. The government will play the role of parents to such orphans. It is our duty to look after their education, health and travel expenses. We have decided to adopt about 6,000 orphan kids as 'Children of the State' under the Mukhya Mantri Sukh-Ashray Yojana.


Our government is not here to enjoy power but to change the system. The first budget of our government is not a routine one. To understand, contemplate and prepare new schemes, I held back to back meetings with various departments. It was a different budget prepared in the interest of the State. You will notice the impact of the schemes included in the budget within a year. We want self-reliant and vibrant Himachal by strengthening the economy. Our first assurance was to restore the Old Pension Scheme. To fulfil our commitment, we decided to bring 1.36 lakh NPS employees under the Old Pension Scheme in the very first cabinet meeting. Further, we have also decided to provide pension of Rs. 1500 to 2.31 lakh women.


The conditions of income limit and permission from Gram Sabha to provide pension for widows and specially-abled people with 40 to 69 percent disability has been quashed. Mukhya Mantri Vidhwa Evam Ekal Nari Awas Yojana is being started to provide houses for widows and single women with an assistance of Rs 1.50 lakh. During this FY, 7000 such women will be benefitted under the scheme. The annual income limit to avail benefit of this scheme is Rs. 2 lakh.


The State government has taken a decisive step to provide equal rights of property to daughters. The Bill to amend Himachal Pradesh Ceiling on Land Holding Act, 1972 has been passed in the Vidhan Sabha. Now daughters have been ensured equal rights in land ownership of ancestral property with removal of unconstitutional clauses promoting gender inequality.

The people of the State, especially the children, will be made aware of the provisions of the 'Protection of Children from Sexual Offenses Act' (POCSO) under the Mukhya Mantri Surakshit Bachpan Abhiyan. A special task force is also being constituted to deal with the drug menace in the State.


The perennial sources of water will prove boon for Himachal Pradesh to become Green Energy State by March, 2026. For achieving this target, the State Government has signed an agreement for the Green Hydrogen and Ammonia Project. This will attract investment of more than Rs. 4,000 crore in the state and more than 3500 employment opportunities will be created. As many as 6 National and State highways will be developed as Green Corridors for providing transportation facilities through electric vehicles.


With the concerted efforts of the state government, the State is emerging as a Model State for Electric Vehicles. Private operators will be provided subsidy of 50 percent for buying electric bus, electric truck, electric taxi, electric auto and electric goods carriers with a maximum grant of Rs. 50 lakh.


Himachal Pradesh has immense potential for tourism development. We have started working in this direction. A comprehensive Tourism Development Scheme has been prepared worth Rs. 1311 crore with the assistance of Asian Development Bank.


In view of the tourism potential, Kangra district is being developed as 'Tourism Capital' of the state. The construction of airport in Kangra is certainly important from the tourism point of view. The construction of new heliports and development or extension of the old heliports is in progress to connect all the district headquarters with air travel facility throughout the year. Ropeway construction is also being speeded up in the state with a thrust on environment protection.


The state government has decided to start robotic surgery in some departments of the state's Medical Colleges during this year. It has also been decided to upgrade the casualty department of these colleges to 'Emergency Medicine Department'. One health institution in each assembly constituency will be upgraded as Adarsh Swasthaya Sansthan.


We are committed to strengthen the education system. We believe that instead of opening or upgrading new schools, qualitative facilities like teachers, libraries, labs, good buildings and sports grounds should be provided in the existing schools. Government has decided to open Rajiv Gandhi Government Model Day-Boarding School in each assembly constituency, which will be equipped with state-of-the-art technology and equipments.


The skill development of the youth in those areas, where more employment opportunities are being generated is the focus area of the government. Keeping this in view, various vocational courses are being started in various government institutions.
We are ensuring that no meritorious poor child is deprived of higher education due to lack of money. To provide educational loan to poor children at one percent interest rate with the help of financial institutions, Rajiv Gandhi Uch Shiksha Protsahan Yojana is being started with a provision of Rs. 200 crore to pursue professional courses like engineering, medical, MBA, Ph.D, B. pharmacy, nursing etc. This mere one percent interest rate will also be instrumental to make them responsible citizens.


Efforts will be made to provide 24x7 water supply in the State. In the first phase, drinking water schemes will be upgraded on pilot basis in some Nagar Panchayats and Nagar Parishads, which are along the river or dam. The supply of bacteria-free water will be ensured by utilizing ultra-violet rays.


Mukhya Mantri Sadak Evam Rakh-Rakhav Yojana is being started with the aim of providing quality roads. Total 1,060 km of new roads and 70 new bridges will be constructed besides metalling and tarring of 1,505 kms. As many as 70 villages will be connected with road facility. National Highways are also being upgraded from double-lane to four-lane.


Total 70 percent of the state's population is dependent on agriculture and allied sectors. Due to increasing population and dependence on nature, agriculture and animal husbandry sectors are posing difficult times presently. Him Unnati is being started for the inclusive growth of agriculture sector. Under this scheme, clusters of areas according to the area-specific potential of producing milk, pulses, vegetables, fruits, flowers, cash crops will be made.


The state government will provide loans at an interest rate of 2 percent to promote start-ups in agriculture, animal husbandry, horticulture and fisheries. Rs. 500 crore Him-Ganga scheme is also being started to boost the milk-based economy. Through this scheme, true cost of milk will be ensured to the cattle rearers besides improving the processing and marketing of milk on quality basis. A subsidy of 80 percent for construction of fish ponds to farmers will be provided to promote fish farming in the private sector.


To encourage private investment in hydropower sector and create employment opportunities an attractive policy will be formulated. Himachal Pradesh Power Sector Development Program costing Rs. 2,000 crore will be initiated with the assistance of the World Bank. In order to strengthen the state economy, the state government has decided to impose 'Water Cess' on the water used for power generation, which will earn revenue for the State.


To provide employment to the youth especially of remote areas, Mukhya Mantri Rozgar Sankalp Seva is being started for employment at the state, national and international levels. We have decided to fill 25,000 functional posts in various departments of the State this year. Government aims at bringing investment of about 20,000 crore rupees in sectors like tourism, energy, construction, housing, which will generate about 90,000 direct and indirect employment opportunities.


Our government has decided that plantation should be made only on the barren hills. For this purpose, saplings will be planted on barren hills in 12 districts under the Mukhya Mantri Green Cover Mission. The forest clearances in developmental works used to take a long time earlier. The government has constituted district level committees to expedite the forest clearances, which will review forest clearance cases with the concerned officers of the district from time to time. With this initiative, forest approvals will be given quickly and the work of projects will be done faster.


The existing single window system in the state will be replaced with Bureau of Investment Promotion. This bureau will provide 'plug and play' facility to the investors in the state and will prove helpful in developing Himachal Pradesh as an Ideal Investment Friendly State.
To provide self-employment opportunities to the youth and to boost start-ups in the State Rajiv Gandhi Swarozgar Yojana will be started. Besides other enterprises, machinery and equipment in dental clinics, purchase of e-taxi, installation of solar power projects up to 1 MW and fisheries units will be included under the scheme.


Daily wages under MGNREGA have been increased from Rs. 212 to Rs. 240 in the state. Similarly, the daily wage in tribal areas has also been increased from Rs. 266 to Rs. 294. The honorarium of representatives of Panchayati Raj institutions, urban local bodies and para-workers working in various departments has also been increased.


Mukhya Mantri Laghu Dukandar Kalyan Yojana is being started to provide 50 percent interest subsidy on loans upto Rs. 50,000 to small shopkeepers and traders. Sadbhavna Yojana is being started to settle the pending tax related cases of traders, manufacturers, wholesalers and retailers.


The state government allotted liquor retail shops through auction and tender process this year. As compared to last year, 40 percent more revenue was generated this time. 'Milk Cess' of Rs. 10 has been imposed on every bottle of liquor which will be utilized to increase income of milk producers.

By strengthening the economy with the right perspective and vision, Himachal Pradesh will emerge as the most developed and prosperous state of the country in the next 10 years and future generations will remember us for this achievement.
The state government is committed to provide corruption-free, responsive and accountable administration while ensuring transparency in every sphere. Our aim is equal and balanced development of all classes and regions besides upliftment of poor and weaker sections of the society. The government is making all out efforts to take the State to new heights of development and public welfare and to strengthen the economy of the State.


We hope for your full cooperation in the journey of development. We are grateful for your support for providing us a chance to change the system in the interest of the State. Once again, best wishes to all of you on Himachal Day.


Thakur Sukhvinder Singh Sukhu
Chief Minister, Himachal Pradesh


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